DQ case raised as Duterte files COC in Comelec
Finally, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, called “The Punisher” by Time magazine, has joined next year’s race for Malacañang.
After months of wavering, Duterte, through his lawyer Salvador Medialdea, filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for President in the Commission on Elections main office in Manila on Friday.
Before the day was over, however, the first objection to Duterte’s run came, with a certain Ruben Castor asking the Comelec “not to give due course” to the Davao mayor’s COC as he was running as a substitute for a candidate who had withdrawn from the race and whose COC had an erroneous entry.
But Duterte’s filing a COC did not mean that he was already a candidate.
According to Election Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, Duterte’s COC needs to go through deliberation by the full commission.
“Receiving his COC was a ministerial function of the Comelec, but this has to be elevated by the law department to the [full commission], which will decide what to do,” Lim told reporters.
Medialdea filed Duterte’s COC in the Comelec’s law department at noon, nearly a month after the original presidential candidate of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Martin Diño, withdrew from the race after being ordered by the Comelec to explain why he should not be declared a nuisance candidate.
Diño, a former barangay captain in Quezon City, named Duterte his substitute.
Lim said the Comelec needed to determine whether the requirements for candidate substitution had been met.
In his petition, Castor, a client of lawyer Oliver Lozano, said Diño’s COC showed that he was running for mayor of Pasay City, which made the document “void, legally inexistent and without legal effect.”
The PDP-Laban earlier explained that the entry was a “clerical error” that could be rectified.
Castor also said that because Diño had already withdrawn from the race, Duterte was substituting for no one.
A source from the camp of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s running mate, said Duterte’s COC was filed earlier than the Dec. 10 deadline in anticipation of legal questions.
“It’s a way to flesh out and address legal problems,” said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Duterte announced his presidential bid on Nov. 21, giving as reason what he called the erroneous decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to throw out a petition for the ouster of Sen. Grace Poe on grounds of her questionable citizenship.
The 70-year-old Davao mayor said he would file his COC after talking to the PDP-Laban, whose leaders had been pushing him to run for President.
Ahead of deadline
On Thursday, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, the PDP-Laban president, indicated the party’s approval, saying he wanted Duterte to file his COC ahead of the Dec. 10 deadline for substitution.
Attached to Duterte’s COC filed Friday were the certificate of nomination and acceptance, a statement of his platform of government and a letter authorizing Medialdea to file the documents on his behalf.
The certificate of nomination was signed by Salvador Ty, vice president of PDP-Laban, on
In Davao City, Duterte went to the local Comelec office and withdrew his COC for reelection as mayor. His daughter, Sara, filed a COC as his substitute.
Duterte told reporters that he had planned to file his COC for President on Dec. 10 but because Sara agreed to run as his substitute in the mayoral race, he decided to file his COC for President on Friday.
He confirmed that he authorized Medialdea to file his candidacy documents for him.
“I just want a day in my life when I can face the Filipino people and speak my truth,” Duterte said.
Exhibit ‘A’: Davao
“For my credentials for the presidency, Davao is Exhibit ‘A,’” he added.
“If there comes a time when I arrive in Pasig, I won’t promise heaven. But everyone will have the freedom to walk the streets safely at night. Either I deliver that or I resign,” he said, renewing his warning to drug lords and other criminals to go somewhere else or they risked getting killed.
On Thursday night, Duterte dealt with fears that he might be disqualified from the presidential race on faulty substitution.
“I don’t have any problem with that if it is the decision of the Comelec,” he said.
“If the Comelec decides to disqualify me, so be it. I won’t die if I don’t become President,” he added.
Duterte has been polling well even during his days of dithering about running. In the latest national surveys by the pollsters Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia, he ranks fourth, behind administration candidate Mar Roxas, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Poe.
In a Metro Manila survey by Pulse Asia leaked this week, Duterte came out on top of the heap, with a 34-percent voter support, followed by Poe, 26 percent; Vice President Jejomar Binay, 22 percent; administration candidate Mar Roxas, 11 percent, and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, 7 percent.
Binay’s camp doubted the survey, with the Vice President’s spokesperson, Joey Salgado, reportedly putting the margin of error at 13 percentage points.
“We take note of the results and the statement of Ana Tabunda (of Pulse Asia) that the survey has a margin of error of 13 percent, owing to the small sampling size,” Salgado said.
In a text message to the Inquirer, Tabunda clarified that the margin of error used was plus-or-minus 6 percentage points for the sample size of 300 used for the survey.
“This means you need a gap of 13 percentage points (times 2 error margin plus 1) to be able to say that a candidate is statistically ahead of another,” Tabunda said.
Poe said on Friday that she fully trusted the credibility of the polls even if the leader was her opponent.
Ups and downs
But she had a piece of advice for the Metro survey leader and the tail-enders: “Don’t brag about it and don’t be sad about it.”
“Sometimes you’re on top, sometimes you drop a little, and then you move up again,” Poe told a news conference in Lucena City.
Poe said she viewed polls as “guides for all candidates.”
“And I treat them with seriousness. It’s important for us to know our rankings,” she said.
She said the Pulse Asia Metro Manila survey was “credible.”
But she questioned the high margin of error, which she said resulted in the close rankings of the presidential candidates.
Earlier, her spokesperson, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said the Pulse Asia Metro poll was “inconclusive” and was “not reflective of the sentiments of the [whole] country.”
The documents filed for Duterte in the Comelec on Friday showed that he is running on a platform of good government, focused on a fight against corruption, drugs and criminality and fixing governmental operations.
Duterte’s thrust includes “streamlining the bureaucracy by introducing digital systems/technologies” and “values formation in all elementary and high schools nationwide.”
With reports from Nancy C. Carvajal in Manila; Delfin T. Mallari, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Germelina Lacorte and Alan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao