Contradicting opinions mar Duterte’s presidential bid

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, Nov. 24 (PNA) — Election lawyers have contradicting opinions on whether or not Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is qualified to run as the substitute presidential candidate of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino—Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Party in the May 2016 polls.

Atty. Sixto Brillantes believes that the Davao City mayor can be PDP-Laban’s new standard-bearer based on existing rules.

“The official candidate of PDP-Laban has withdrawn his COC (Certificate of Candidacy). The grounds in fielding a substitute are death, disqualification, and withdrawal. Dino withdrew, so he can be replaced,” said the former chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

He noted that PDP-Laban should not be prohibited to substitute Martin Diño, the party’s former presidential bet after he withdrew his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC).

“Why will the party be made to suffer? They nominated one candidate and he withdrew, so why can’t the party replace him?” Brillantes asked.

The election lawyer added that even the motu proprio petition to declare Dino as a nuisance candidate is immaterial already since the latter has already withdrawn his CoC.

On the other hand, Atty. Romulo Macalintal said that Duterte could face legal hurdles if he decides to substitute Dino, as the latter filed a “defective” CoC.

“If the basis of the substitution of Duterte is the CoC of Dino, from what I know, there may be some legal impediments. One is because he filed to run for Pasay City Mayor, not for President,” he noted.

Macalintal added in the event that Dino was declared as a nuisance candidate, it would mean that no CoC has been filed.

“As you know, once he is declared as a nuisance candidate, it is tantamount to no COC being submitted. That will also pose as a problem,” he explained.

But, Macalintal said Duterte could easily become a substitute candidate if and when he replaced other candidates validly nominated by other political parties, aside from Dino.

Diño already withdrew his CoC after claiming that he was insulted by the poll body’s decision to file a motu proprio petition to declare him as a nuisance candidate. He named Duterte as his substitute candidate.

Over the weekend, the chief executive of Davao City declared that he was going to run for president in the May 2016 polls.

Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 9984 provides that an official candidate of a duly registered political party or coalition who dies, withdraws, or is disqualified for any cause after the last day for the filing of COCs may be substituted by a candidate belonging to, and nominated by, the same political party or coalition.

However, no substitution due to withdrawal shall be allowed by the Comelec after Dec. 10, 2015. (PNA)