Duterte to Comelec: Cases 'water under the bridge'

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, January 15, urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to dismiss 3 petitions seeking to bar his presidential bid. 

Duterte said the poll body should dismiss these petitions “for lack of merit.”

In a memorandum filed before the Comelec on Friday, the mayor pointed out that the poll body on December 17, 2015, already accepted his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president.

Duterte, through his lawyers, said this means his critics can no longer argue that he ran for president through invalid means.

Duterte ran by substituting for anti-crime advocate Martin Diño, the original candidate of political party PDP-Laban.

The problem is, Diño filed a supposedly erroneous COC in which he said he is running for Pasay City mayor. 

Petitioners against Duterte said this makes the substitution invalid.

'Duterte COC is valid'

Duterte’s camp however said on Friday: “All these objections of petitioners regarding the validity of the substitution that took place between Diño and respondent Duterte, and the validity of their respective COCs, are all water under the bridge.”

He then referred to the Comelec resolution on December 17, 2015, accepting Duterte’s COC. 

Duterte’s camp said: “This acceptance of respondent Duterte’s COC presupposed a recognition by the Comelec en banc, first, that the COC of Diño was valid; second, that his withdrawal together with his naming of respondent Duterte as substitute was valid; and third, that the COC filed by respondent Duterte was valid.”

His camp continued: “The valid COC of Diño, the valid withdrawal thereof together with the valid naming of a substitute, thereby set into motion by operation of law the substitution of candidates. The filing by respondent Duterte of his own valid COC, preceded by the valid withdrawal of his COC for mayor of Davao City, completed the substitution.” 

Duterte faces 4 petitions against his presidential bid.

In December 2015, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body accepted Duterte’s COC “without prejudice to disqualification cases that have been filed or may be filed against him.” – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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