Same petitioner vs Poe wants Duterte’s candidacy cancelled

Camille Elemia
Same petitioner vs Poe wants Duterte’s candidacy cancelled
Why go after the Davao City mayor? Rizalito David says this is personal to him, after Duterte cursed the Pope and vowed to destroy the Catholic Church

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A complaint seeking to cancel Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s certificate of candidacy (COC) was filed on Monday, December 21, before the Commission on Elections.

In a 9-page petition, Rizalito David urged the poll body to cancel Duterte’s COC for being “invalid” and “not seasonably filed,” even as the Comelec already accepted the mayor’s COC.

David also urged the Comelec to declare Duterte’s substitution of Martin Diño as “null and void,” saying Diño already withdrew his candidacy way before Duterte filed his COC.

This is the 2nd petition that seeks to bar the feisty Davao City mayor from running in next year’s presidential polls on the basis of errors in the COC of Diño of the PDP-Laban party. (READ: Duterte faces 1st disqualification case vs presidential bid)

“Iyong ifinile na COC ni Duterte, hindi ‘yun valid. For one, nag-file na siya ng COC for mayor. Second, it’s beyond the time that was allocated, which was from October 12 to 16, way beyond the deadline. Third, nag-file siya ng COC for something na hindi naman clear kung substitution or bago ‘yan dahil si Diño winithdraw niya COC niya way, way ahead of time bago mag-file si Duterte,” David told reporters on Monday, December 21.

(The COC that Duterte filed is not valid. For one, he filed a COC for mayor. Second, it’s beyond the time that was allocated for filing of COC which was from October 12 to 16, way beyond the deadline. Third, he filed his COC for something that is not clear, whether for substitution or for a new one because Diño already withdrew his COC way, way ahead before Duterte filed his.)

David said Duterte is mocking the rule of law, the same way he “mocks” his supporters when he kept changing his mind on running for president. 

Itong bagay na ‘to (This thing) is a mockery of the rule of law. It’s a mockery of all the process. Just like how he mocks his own supporters, pabalik-balik sya, mag-file ako, di ako mag-file (he’s going back and forth on the presidency, I’m filing, I’m not filing),” he said.

Rappler earlier reporter that Diño, in his COC, erroneously declared that he is running “for the position of mayor” of Pasay City. He then withdrew his candidacy on October 29. 

In November, Duterte filed his COC as substitute for Diño. The two are members of the political party PDP-Laban. 

Section 19 of Comelec Resolution 9884 states: “An official candidate of a duly registered political party (PP) or coalition who dies, withdraws, or is disqualified for any cause after the filing of COCs may be substituted by a candidate belonging to, and nominated by, the same PP or coalition.” 

Why attack presidential polls front runners?

David is the same petitioner in the cases against presidential race front runner Grace Poe – one disqualification case before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and an electoral offense case before the Comelec.

Now he is keen on getting Duterte, another presidential polls front runner, disqualified in next year’s polls.

David, who was declared a nuisance presidential bet by the Comelec, said the case against Duterte is personal for him.

Bakit si Duterte? May personal na concern ako dito. ‘Yung minura niya ang Santo Papa, I took that personally because I love the Pope. Noong sinabi niya na wawasakin niya ang Simbahang Katoliko, I took that personally because I’m a Catholic. Ie-expose niya kung anu-anong kabalbalan ng mga kaparian. I am a Catholic. He can’t do that. Even Satan failed to destroy the church. Who is he to destroy the church?” David said.

(Why Duterte? I have personal concerns here. When he cursed the Pope, I took that personally because I love the Pople. When he said he will destroy the Catholic Church, I took that personally because I’m a Catholic. He said he will expose the wrongdoings of priests. I am a Catholic. He can’t do that. Even Satan failed to destroy the church. Who is he to destroy the church?)

David filed the petition without a counsel. His lawyer for the SET and Comelec cases against Poe, Manuelito Luna, has yet to decide if he would take this petition.

Asked who helped him in the petition he filed, David did not specify any one. After all, he said, the complaint is just “very basic” and does not require “much brilliance.”

Despite this, he maintained there are no politics involved in his actions, saying the people would benefit from it and not a select few.

“Sino ba ang nag-violate ng batas? Dapat ba para lang maiwasan na sabihin ‘Bakit si Grace at Duterte this time?’ ay hindi na natin gagawin? Responsibilidad natin lahat ito. I’m simply trying to correct the things that Comelec did as errors,” David said.

(Who violated the law? Should we just not do it so that we would avoid accusations ‘Why Grace and Duterte this time?’ This is our responsibility. I’m simply trying to correct the things that Comelec did as errors.)

Asked if he would also look into the possible problems with the candidacies of administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and Vice President Jejomar Binay, David said he sees nothing wrong with them.

“Procedurally and constitutionally, I don’t see any. But in the case of Duterte and Grace Poe, there are. There are a number of them (candidates) who are brilliant who can run this country than these front runners,” he said. – Rappler.com

(Editor’s Note: In an earlier version of this story, we mistakenly referred to petitioner Rizalito David as a lawyer. We have corrected the error.)

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com