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Error in Diño COC may pave way for Duterte candidacy

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday, October 27, explained that a substitute could take the “slot” of a political party’s bet if the poll body disqualifies the original candidate.  

Without commenting on the specific case of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez clarified this rule on Tuesday, as speculations swirled around the candidacy of Martin Diño, the presidential bet of the political party PDP-Laban.

Diño is widely seen as a placeholder candidate for Duterte. 

With Diño as a placeholder, this means that if this largely unknown candidate withdraws from the presidential race, Duterte has until December 10 to take his place.

Political watchers questioned the possibility of Duterte substituting for Diño, however, after a Rappler story pointed out a glaring error in Diño’s certificate of candidacy (COC).  

In a portion of his COC, Diño declared he is running for mayor of Pasay City.

Is Diño’s COC valid? Can the Comelec disqualify Diño because of his erroneous COC? If Diño is disqualified, does this forfeit the “slot” of PDP-Laban in the presidential race?

Jimenez on Tuesday said the Comelec is still studying Duterte’s specific case, but explained the poll body's rules on candidates.

Duterte tapped as Diño's substitute 

When asked, for instance, if a party’s slot is forfeited once its candidate is disqualified, Jimenez said: “No, because substitution is possible for involuntary withdrawal.”

He pointed out that involuntary withdrawal applies to cases of “death and disqualification.”

“So if someone files a COC and he is subsequently disqualified, that slot remains viable,” he said. 

He added that substitution “is available if a candidate is running with a party, whereas it is not available if a candidate is running as an independent.”

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.”

Duterte has sent mixed signals regarding his presidential bid, sometimes hinting he will run and then saying he wouldn’t. (READ: Duterte, his 6 contradictions and planned dictatorship

PDP-Laban recently opened another way for Duterte to change his mind. On Monday, October 26, the party decided to nominate Duterte as its presidential candidate in case Diño withdraws from the presidential race. – 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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