The May 2016 elections is now more fun with the entry of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the race.
Last Monday, Duterte, after months of flip-flopping – even writing an open letter last Oct. 12 saying, “The country does not need me” – he declared last weekend in a birthday party in Cavite, that he is after all running for president in the May 2016 elections.
But, in the first place, can he join the presidential race? Although a member of the PDP-Laban (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan), he filed his certificate of candidacy for Davao City mayor as candidate of Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod.
The slot that he is supposed to take for the presidency is the one filed by former Quezon City Barangay captain Martin B. Diño, who has already withdrawn his candidacy after it was reported that he would be declared a nuisance candidate by the Commission on Elections.
But wait, didn’t Duterte say on Oct. 16, “Hindi ako pang-substitute. Pang original ako.”
Sen. Aquilino “Koko”Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, said the issue about whether Duterte can substitute Diño is “a non-issue.”
What the PDP-Laban did just to keep open the legal window while Duterte took his own sweet time became a comedy of errors. Diño arrived at the Comelec main office minutes before the 5 p.m. Oct. 16, 2015 deadline. In the rush, the form that Dino filled up was not for President but for “Pasay Mayor.” The Comelec is in Manila.
Pimentel said the “minor clerical error” won’t nullify the certificate of nomination and acceptance from the PDP that Diño was running for President.
In the afternoon of the last day of the filing of certificates of candidacy set by the Comelec, Duterte was reported to be aboard the plane sent to Davao by businessman Manuel Pangilinan bound for Manila . It turned out to be false. True, there was a private plane sent to fetch him but he said he declined and decided to stay home.
Lito Banayo, Duterte’s political adviser said, the Davao mayor will be withdrawing the certificate of candidacy that he filed for Davao City mayor. His daughter Sarah will be the substitute candidate.
Duterte has up to Dec. 10 to file his certificate of candidacy as substitute for Diño. That means eating his own words about not wanting to be just a substitute and always keeping his word. “Isang salita lang ako,” he had told those who wanted him to run for president.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal seriously doubts if Duterte can substitute for Diño. One, Diño’s COC was defective.
Also, as quoted by the Inquirer, Makalintal said, “If [the] Comelec later determines that Diño is a nuisance candidate for President then the more reason Duterte cannot sub for Diño. When a candidate is declared a nuisance, his COC is denied due course, or canceled, the effect of which is that it is as if no COC was filed.”
After telling those who were with him in his nationwide crusade for federalism “.., there was no ambition for me to aspire for the presidency. The country does not need me. I find no need for it… my destiny is to end years and years of public life in the service of Davao City and every Dabawenyo,” Duterte is saying now that he decided to run for president after the Senate Electoral Tribunal dismissed the disqualification case against Grace Poe, the candidate leading in the presidential race according to surveys.
That’s from the man who sells himself to the public as “decisive” and “isang salita lang.”
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