PRESIDENTIAL aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he will support the candidacy of Vice President Jejomar Binay instead of administration bet Manuel Roxas II, if he and Senator Grace Poe are disqualified from running in the 2016 elections.
“I don’t care if I’m disqualified but this much I can say: I do not have any respect for you,” Duterte said, addressing Roxas in an interview on ABS-CBN News. “If Grace and I are disqualified, I will campaign for Binay.”
The Commission on Elections is hearing disqualification cases filed against Poe and Duterte.
Poe filed a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec en banc after both the First and Second Division canceled her Certificate of Candidacy.
Duterte, on the other hand, has a pending disqualification case filed by Ruben Castor, who claimed the mayor was not a qualified substitute for PDP-Laban standard bearer Martin Diño as they did not belong to the same political party.
Diño, a member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, canceled his Certificate of Candidacy last October and named Duterte as his replacement. He said he decided to withdraw his candidacy after the Comelec legal department recommended to the commission en banc to declare him a nuisance candidate.
Former President Fidel V. Ramos said Wednesday that it is the people who should decide who should be their leaders.
“When there’s a little doubt, let’s give the benefit of the doubt to the person concerned, meaning let the people decide,” Ramos told reporters at the Pandesal Forum in Quezon City.
Ramos added that if the pattern continued, there would only be one candidate left.
“We may end up with only one candidate for the presidency if we follow this process of elimination, which is of course not the way our people want it. So give them the benefit of the doubt,” Ramos said.
Poe and Duterte have tagged Roxas as the one behind their disqualification complaints as well as a black propaganda campaign against them, accusations that Roxas has repeatedly denied.
In what seemed like an endorsement of Duterte, Ramos said it was time for the Philippines to have a president from Mindanao.
“The best is yet to come. Now is the time to have a president from Mindanao,” Ramos said, adding that he preferred the next president to be younger than him. Ramos is 87; Duterte is 70.
Ramos said both Poe and Duterte had sought his advice before deciding to run for president.
In July, or almost two months before Poe and Escudero declared their bid, the tandem met with the former president in his office in Makati.
Asked what the meeting was about, Ramos said the two sought his advice on running a national campaign.
“They asked me, ‘How do you do it?’ So I gave them a copy of my old party platform, instructions to campaigners and managers, and I gave them my speech at the auditorium of Sto. Domingo church,” Ramos said.
Duterte met with Ramos last October in a one-hour, closed-door session during the sidelines of the joint BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines East Asean Growth Area) which was hosted by the Philippines this year at Davao City.
Despite his remarks on having a president from Mindanao, Ramos said he had not yet picked the candidate that he would finally endorse.
“Ask me again a week before the polls,” Ramos said.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Senate Electoral Tribunal to comment on a petition assailing its decision to uphold Poe’s eligibility in the 2013 senatorial elections.
In a special full court session, the justices required the nine-member tribunal to comment on the petition filed by Rizalito David questioning the SET ruling that dismissed his disqualification petition against Poe.
The SET, composed of six senators and three Supreme Court justices, was given 15 days to comply with the order.
The SET voted 5-4 in favor of Poe, but all the justices on the tribunal voted to disqualify her. David appealed the decision before the Supreme Court, which has set oral arguments for Jan. 16, 2016.
In his Dec. 8 petition, David asked the tribunal to overturn the majority decision of the SET that declared Poe a natural-born Filipino eligible for her senatorial post.
He accused the five senators in the majority ruling of SET—Vicente Sotto III, Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar and Bam Aquino—of handing down a political decision in favoring Poe.
Another case involving Poe is expected to reach the Supreme Court after the two divisions of the Comelec recently ruled to disqualify her in the presidential poll over her alleged failure to meet the 10-year residency requirement under the Constitution.
The Comelec en banc has yet to rule on the cases filed by Estrella Elamparo, former Senator Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East law dean Amado Valdez.
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