Comelec body junks all DQ petitions vs Duterte
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division has denied all the petitions seeking to disqualify presidential hopeful Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday.
At a press conference, First Division presiding Commissioner Christian Robert Lim announced that the decision was unanimous in favor of denying the four petitions against Duterte due to lack of merit.
“The First Division has ruled to deny all petitions against Mayor Rodrigo Duterte,” Lim told reporters.
The decision of the poll body said that former Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) standard-bearer Martin Diño has validly filed a certificate of candidacy (COC) for president; that Diño was not declared a nuisance candidate and that the withdrawal of Diño for Duterte was valid.
The division also found that Duterte’s substitution for Diño was valid and that the Davao City mayor did not commit any material misrepresentation in his COC.
The petitions of broadcaster Ruben Castor and UP student leader John Paul delas Nieves against the feisty mayor were also denied for their failure to appear in the preliminary conference of their respective cases.
“The Punisher will live to die another day,” Lim said in jest.
Comelec chair Andres Bautista said that the decision would mean that Duterte is still included in the six presidential candidates for May polls.
“He is still a candidate as we speak and we are now in the process of finalizing the list of candidates,” Bautista said.
The petitioners will be given five days to appeal the division’s decision to the full commission following the promulgation of the decision.
“He is still a candidate as we speak and we are now in the process of finalizing the list of candidates.” – Commissioner Christian Robert Lim
The four petitions were filed by broadcaster Ruben Castor, student leader JP delas Nieves, Ely Pamatong and Rizalito David.
The first to file a disqualification case against Duterte, Castor alleged that the substitution of Dino was invalid because of a defect in his COC.
Delas Nieves also raised the same issues regarding Duterte’s invalid substitution, adding that the mayor committed material misrepresentation of “a material fact” as he “is openly flouting duly promulgated laws and the Constitution” and that he had no regard on human rights.
David, on the other hand, said Duterte made a “mockery of the law,” for his COC was not “validly and seasonably filed.”
On his part, Pamatong asked Comelec to declare Duterte as a “nuisance COC applicant,” adding that he is “communist supremo, jueteng lord of lords, mass murderer, and fanatically anti-American.” CDG/AC
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