Duterte vows to go to SC against any challenge to presidential bid
MANILA, Philippines — Go ahead, make my day.
Disparaged for being on the fence regarding the clamor for him to run as President, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte vowed on Monday to challenge in the Supreme Court any attempt to derail his presidential bid in the May 2016 general elections.
Abandoning the ambivalence he previously showed, the sharp-tongued mayor assured his supporters that he has become determined to seek the highest elective post in the land despite possible legal obstacles.
“Yes, but I have no problem with that,” Duterte told the Philippine Daily Inquirer when asked if he thought his opponents would use the question over the certificate of candidacy (COC) filed by PDP-Laban member Martin Diño.
“I don’t mind. It’s up to the Comelec (Commission on Elections) to decide on it,” he said. “If they think they can disqualify me, go ahead. But I will have to… maybe file an MR (motion for reconsideration) and then go to the Supreme Court.”
Duterte also made known that he had decided to choose Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who joined him in the opening of a Japanese restaurant in Greenhills, San Juan City, as his running mate.
Asked if there could be any reason for him to withdraw from the presidential race, Duterte said: “Maybe there’s none. The die is cast. I have crossed the Rubicon.”
Diño, a former village chair from Quezon City, beat the deadline for the submission of COCs for those running for national posts on Oct. 16.
Observers believed he filed his COC only as a vehicle for Duterte, who had initially turned down moves for him to seek the presidency, to be the PDP-Laban’s substitute candidate for President.
However, Diño apparently inadvertently wrote “mayor” and not “president” as the position he was running for. As expected, he then withdrew as presidential candidate two weeks later.
Told that his rivals could raise the technicality to disqualify him, Duterte said: “They can use it… for all I care. I’m here as a matter of principle.”
Echoing his earlier statement, the mayor said he only opted to join the presidential race after the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) voted 5-4 to junk the petition seeking to disqualify presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe because of questions over her citizenship as a foundling.
“I had to talk. I must find a day in my life to talk to the Filipino people and say my truth because simply it (SET ruling) was unconstitutional,” he said.
“I don’t believe in it. I will only follow the interpretation of the three justices (who were members of the SET) because I’m a lawyer.” he continued. “Lawyers are for only for what is right. Although the SET (voting) was both a legal and political process, it still contravenes the Constitution.” SFM
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