Baby Arenas replaces daughter in Pangasinan congressional race

Another local candidate in the 2013 midterm elections has withdrawn her candidacy to give way for a more prominent substitute, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Friday. Brillantes, who was wearing a Santa Claus suit when he faced the media, said Rep. Rachel Arenas of Pangasinan's third district has backed out of her re-election bid and was substituted by her mother, socialite Rosemarie "Baby" Arenas, an alleged former paramour of former President Fidel V. Ramos. On Thursday, Bangon Pilipinas senatorial bet Israel Virgines backed out of the race and was substituted by Jesus is Lord founder Bro. Eddie Villanueva, a defeated presidential candidate in the 2010 elections. Brillantes said he expects about 50 more local candidates to withdraw their candidacies. He did not elaborate. The poll body has set December 21 as the deadline for substitution, except for substitutes for a deceased or disqualified candidate, where the filing of certificates of candidacies is allowed up to the mid-day of election day. However, the Comelec only allows substitutes having the same surname as the initial candidate. The Comelec also allows substitutes belonging to the same party. Meanwhile, asked why he was wearing a Santa Claus costume on Friday, Brillantes said he was merely responding to jeers from his colleagues. Brillantes said his Christmas wish is for Philippine elections to be clean and honest. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News