Drilon: Rules, not people, should decide cases vs Poe, Duterte
Amid the disqualification cases hounding presidential aspirants Senator Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senate President Franklin Drilon urged the public to let the Commission on Elections (Comelec) uphold the country’s election laws.
“We have rules which are necessary for an orderly society,” Drilon said during the weekly Kapihan sa Senado forum, a transcript of which was provided to journalists.
“If we just say that we let the people decide, then we might as well throw all the rules out of the window; let’s discard all the rules, and let everybody run,” he added.
Drilon made the statement following the call of former president Fidel Ramos to let the people decide the fate of Poe and Duterte, who are both leading pre-poll surveys.
Both the first and the second divisions of Comelec have already disqualified Poe, upholding petitions questioning her residency and citizenship.
The Comelec on Thursday, meanwhile, decided to accept the Duterte’s certificate of candidacy for president, voting in an exercise of its “administrative function” to allow Duterte’s substitution of former Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) standard-bearer Martin Diño. A disqualification case against him, however, was still pending.
Drilon stressed that the Comelec is duty-bound to uphold the laws in accordance with the Constitution, which provides guidelines on the manner by which elections are carried out.
“We have basic rules which in any civilized society will be necessary in order to prevent disorder. So if you are saying just let the people decide, precisely there are rules in order that people can rationally decide,” Drilon said.
He added that it would also be unfair to those declared as nuisance candidates if people, and not the rules, will decide the cases against Poe and Duterte.
“If we are to apply the let-the-people-decide philosophy on the disqualification cases against Senator Grace Poe and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, then the Comelec should have also allowed ‘Archangel Lucifer,’ ‘Kuya P,’ ‘Kapitan Kuryente,’ and all other individuals who filed their COCs to run for president,” Drilon said.
“We cannot provide exemptions to individuals under our laws and regulations while denying the same to others. If we leave the case of Poe and Duterte in the hands of the people to decide, then we should also ask them to decide on the fate of the 125 nuisance candidates who want to run for president. A situation like that is unacceptable,” he stressed.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.