Can Duterte sub for Diño? It’s up to Comelec
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The issue on whether or not Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte can still run for president as a substitute for Martin Diño, the standard bearer of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), would have to be decided by the Commission on Elections’ legal department, the poll body’s deputy director for Southern Mindanao said.
Marlon Casquejo told reporters here it was his opinion that such a substitution might not be possible because the mayor filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for reelection as mayor under the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod party—although he is also a member of PDP-Laban.
Hugpong is a local party that Duterte founded several years ago.
“If there will be a substitution in the national level, it would depend on whom the party would endorse,” Casquejo said in response to the continuously raised possibility that Duterte would replace Diño.
Casquejo said that under Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 9984, substitution for a candidate who dies, withdraws or is disqualified was allowed even after the filing of COCs. However, the substitute candidate should belong to the same party as the candidate being replaced.
“PDP-Laban and Hugpong are two distinct parties,” he said.
The issue on Duterte possibly becoming PDP-Laban’s substitute candidate was sparked anew after an interview of the mayor by CNN Philippines.
In the interview, conducted by Pia Hontiveros on Wednesday, Duterte said he “might change his mind” and run in 2016 as a substitute candidate.
But he clarified that this possibility depended on the decision of PDP-Laban. The party has until Dec. 10 to make the substitution decision.
“It is solely a prerogative of the party…As a party member, I will listen and maybe decide accordingly on what is really good for me or for PDP-Laban,” Duterte said.
He said he would submit to the leadership of the PDP-Laban, adding, “but they have to listen also to what I have to say.”
“That’s a possibility, I would submit myself to whatever decision the party would make,” Duterte said.
He said if discussions go right, then the substitution could take place.
“Maybe me, maybe another person or member,” he said, reiterating he had no ambition to become president.
But Duterte added that he would consider what is best for the party.
Diño said PDP-Laban could choose Duterte in case he makes up his mind.
“There is a possibility…there is that scenario,” he said.
Duterte was being touted as among the stronger presidential contenders. However, he did not file a COC for president, choosing instead to stand for reelection as Davao mayor.
Christopher Go, Duterte’s close aide, told the Inquirer the mayor appeared to have changed his mind when he said he remained open to the decision of the PDP-Laban.
“He said he is open to it, but that would depend on the decision of PDP-Laban,” Go said.
When asked whether Duterte’s position contradicted his earlier statement that he could not be a substitute candidate because he was “an original,” Go said the mayor meant that as a joke. With a report from Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao
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