DAVAO Mayor Rodrigo Duterte filed his Certificate of Candidacy to run for president in the 2016 elections after withdrawing his bid to seek reelection as mayor, the Commission on Elections said Friday.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body would have to evaluate Duterte’s CoC before his candidacy is accepted. He added that the Comelec was expected to come up with the final list of candidates by Dec. 15.
“By that time, we will know the validity of his candidacy,” Jimenez said.
At 11:50 a.m, Duterte’s representative, Salvador Medialdea filed the mayor’s CoC along with the certificate of nomination and acceptance from the Partido Demokratiko Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
The certificate of nomination and acceptance was signed by Duterte and the party’s vice president, Salvador Ty.
Along with the documents submitted were a photocopy of Duterte’s passport and his curriculum vitae.
Until recently, Duterte insisted he was not interested in seeking the presidency, but speculation that he would run as a substitute candidate for the PDP-Laban was fueled when the party’s standard bearer, Martin Diño, withdrew his Certificate of Candidacy.
Diño was among 125 presidential aspirants that the Comelec was considering to declare as nuisance candidates.
Former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said Duterte may have a problem if the Comelec declares Diño as nuisance candidate, even though he has withdrawn his candidacy.
“The Comelec can still determine the validity of Diños CoC,” Larrazabal said.
“If there’s a problem with Diño’s CoC, there’s a problem with Duterte’s,” he added, citing the case of Lucy Torres-Gomez, in which the Supreme Court ruled that her replacing her husband Richard Gomez was invalid, since his candidacy was invalid from the start.
Former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes, however, said if Diño withdrew his candidacy, the poll body could no longer rule on his status, and the PDP-Laban had a chance to nominate another legitimate candidate.
“There is no issue about substitution. It is the prerogative of the PDP-Laban. You cannot deprive a political party [of the right to choose] another candidate,” Brillantes said.
Duterte, who earlier filed his candidacy for reelection as mayor in Davao City, said he decided to run for president because he was disappointed with the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal to junk the disqualification case against Senator Grace Poe, the survey frontrunner in the presidential race.
Duterte said he could not accept an American president, referring to the time the senator gave up her Philippine citizenship to become an American citizen.
He also insisted that Poe was not qualified to run for president because as a foundling, she could not be considered a natural-born citizen, which is a requirement to be senator or president.
In withdrawing his CoC for Davao City mayor, Duterte named his daughter, Sara Duterte, as his substitute for the local party Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod.
The Dutertes appeared before the office of the Commission on Elections in Davao City Friday morning, Nov. 27, along with their lawyers and supporters.
On Monday night in Greenhills, Duterte said that he would gun the country’s top post with Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who has steadily wooed him to consider being his running mate.
“There’s nothing that would change my mind. I have already crossed the rubicon,” Duterte told reporters in a chance interview on Monday.
On Thursday, Duterte promised to eliminate the country’s drug problem by making an example of drug syndicates.
He also urged drug traffickers to leave the country and said more funeral parlors would have to open to accommodate pushers.
On Thursday, Duterte’s campaign manager, Jose Calida, said politicians who had earlier supported Poe were switching to the mayor’s camp.
“People crossed the fence when Duterte entered the game. Many of those came from different camps and promised to join Mayor Duterte,” Calida said.
He added that businessmen, whom he did not name, have promised to raise P1 billion in campaign funds for Duterte.
Vice President Jejomar Binay welcomed the entry of Duterte in the presidential race, saying the people would have more choices in the 2016 national elections. With John Paolo Bencito and Vito Barcelo
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