PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Martin Diño of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Thursday cancelled his Certificate of Candidacy for the 2016 elections and named Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as his replacement.
But the Duterte camp remained silent Thursday and telephone calls went unanswered even as members of Duterte’s party, the PDP-Laban, said the Davao City mayor has until Dec. 10 to decide whether to run for President in next year’s election.
A reliable source who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter said Duterte was already aware of Diño’s withdrawal, but Duterte himself could not be reached for comment.
“The last time we spoke, [Duterte] said he will abide by the decision of the party,” the source said.
Diño, chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, said he decided to withdraw his candidacy after the legal department of the Commission on Elections recommended to the commission en banc to declare him a nuisance candidate.
But Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body would still have to review the Certificate of Candidacy of Diño, who was also given three days to explain why he should not be disqualified for being a nuisance candidate.
“I was told that there was a bit of an error in the Certificate of Candidacy that was filed by Diño. But as I said, if they’re going to [correct the error], I hope that they do it sooner rather than later so we will have time to review the documents,” Bautista said.
Bautista was referring to an apparent error in Dino’s Certificate of Candidacy form where the head of the form read “Certificate of Candidacy for President” but a printed declaration said he was running for mayor.
Under the Omnibus Election Code, a nuisance is someone who files his candidacy to put the election process in mockery or disrepute, one who causes confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates, and one who, based on demonstrable circumstances or acts, has no bona fide intention to run for office.
Diño was supposed to run for President under Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), a national party founded in 1982 by former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
“The Comelec legal department sent a motu propio [document] declaring me as a nuisance candidate,” he said.
But he maintained that PDP-Laban, where he is a member and secretary-general, is a legitimate political party.
In his Facebook account, North Cotabato Gov. Manny Piñol said the PDP-Laban passed two resolutions Monday in connection with the party’s nomination.
The first resolution affirmed the party’s support for Diño while the second resolution stated that should Diño decide to withdraw from the race, the party was “compelling” Duterte to run as substitute.
The PDP-Laban reportedly passed a resolution last Monday naming Duterte as substitute in case Diño withdraws his CoC.
Reports showed that the Comelec law department asked the Commission En Banc to cancel Diño’s CoC, stating that he was only a “stand-in” candidate for Duterte, who did not file his CoC for President on Oct. 16.
PDP-Laban vice president for Luzon John Castricciones said there is no official statement yet from Duterte whether he would accept the challenge to be the party’s standard bearer next year.
He, however, expressed confidence that Duterte would accept the decision of party officials.
Duterte, who filed his CoC to seek reelection in Davao City, earlier brushed aside reports that he would become a substitute candidate for Diño. He stood by his decision not to run for President, saying he is a man of his word.
Supporters remain hopeful Duterte will change his mind and run for President.
Election officials said Duterte may still run for President since he is a member of PDP-Laban and has until Dec. 10 to decide.
They said under the Commission on Elections rules, only party-mates or those from same coalitions may substitute for one another.
Only recently, Duterte said that once he has spoken, that is it. “The people know the truth but refuse to accept it. They should forget me,” he said.
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