Duterte needs to resolve first legal obstacle before he can run for President

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Nov. 24 (PNA) –Before announcing his move to seek the highest office in the land, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte needs to resolve first legal obstacles on substitution before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), according to Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo.

Romualdo on Tuesday said that Duterte had to convince first Comelec that it was only a typographical error on the in the certificate of candidacy filed by former Barangay Capt. Martin Diño.

In his certificate of candidacy Diño declared he was running for Mayor in Pasay City instead of President under PDP-Laban.

“Well, over the last few days, may mga lumabas na legal luminaries on the issue of substitution, possible substitution of Mayor Duterte, and they raised valid points. Sa nakikita nga namin, parang magiging mas complicated pa ito or as complicate or possibly, even more complicated than the case of Senator [Grace] Poe,” Romualdo told House reporters during the weekly forum, Ugnayan sa Batasan.

He said it was not a simple typographical error that needed to be replaced by some letters to a word.

“Based on reports, the form says, for President, but iyong finill-up, which is I think more indicative of the intention of the candidate is for Mayor of Pasay City; but that complicates things, so, the candidacy is for Mayor of Pasay City,” he pointed out.

He stressed that the error was a major one and needed a lot of explanation of legal minds before Comelec can decide on it.

For his part, Daang Matuwid spokesman and Akbayan Party-list Rep. Barry Gutierrez said it was very clear in the rules of substitution that the person being substituted has actually filed a valid certificate of candidacy.

“And right now, that seems to be the big question: Valid ba iyong pag-file ni Diño given that there are some, well, questionable parts noong kanyang COC? Hindi din clear kung Comelec is going to consider him a qualified candidate at hindi siya magfa-fall under, let’s say, the rule on nuisance candidates, and so on. So, that has to be resolved first,” Gutierrez said.

“We can even talk about the validity of the substitution, we have to talk about the validity of the candidacy of Diño, the person who is sought to be substituted. But of course, at the end of the day, lahat naman ng ito hindi naman kami ang magdedesisyon e, ang magdedesisyon nito ay iyong Commission on Elections,” he added.

He said that Comelec could only act as soon as Duterte officially files his appropriate papers before the Comelec, seeking to substitute for the candidacy of Diño. (PNA)