Duterte: Better if I'm disqualified

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said it would be better if he will be disqualified from the presidential race.

Speaking to reporters at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Manila, Duterte stressed that even if he has decided to run, getting elected as president is not his foremost concern.

''Kung i-DQ (disqualified) ako dahil dyan eh di mas mabuti. Wala akong trabaho,'' he said.

''I will not lose sleep because I'm not the president. Hindi ako mamamatay kapag hindi ako presidente."

Asked whether his continued pronouncement that he is not interested in the presidency despite filing a COC will affect his supporters, Duterte said: ''If I'm disqualified there has to be a legal reason. Ano bang magagawa natin? I won't lose sleep. Hindi naman ako mamamatay kung 'di ako president."

Nonetheless, Duterte said it may have been ''God's will'' for him to run.

''I have a nonchalant attitude to the presidency… Wala akong ambisyon, 'di ako interesado sa presidency, but you know God has many ways of doing it. If it is really your destiny – not necessarily to win – but if it's your destiny to be there vying for the presidency, ganoon siguro ang nangyari,'' he said.

Duterte's inclusion in the list of presidential bets is not yet sealed as the poll body has yet to decide on his substitution for Partidong Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) presidential bet Martin Diño.

Duterte is supposed to substitute for Diño, who withdrew his certificate of candidacy (COC) even before the Comelec could decide on a petition by the poll body's legal department to declare him as a nuisance bet.

DUTERTE CLEARS HURDLE

In what was considered an initial victory for Duterte, the Comelec on Monday dismissed the petition seeking to declare Diño as a nuisance candidate.

Duterte's allies believe Diño's withdrawal has paved the way for Duterte's entry into the presidential race through substitution, which is allowed by law.

However, some are questioning the validity of the substitution, citing the error in Diño's COC which indicates the latter is running for mayor of Pasay City, not president.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the error in Diño's COC should not be taken lightly by the poll body.

But former Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. downplayed the error in Diño's COC, saying the ''controlling document'' is PDP-Laban's certificate of nomination and acceptance.

Meanwhile, Duterte again stressed that Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is his running mate, saying Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is already out of the picture because the latter is apparently running alongside Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.

''I cannot in conscience be vacillating about the VP. Talagang si Cayetano ang ano ko. And Bongbong was not considered by me because of the mixed signals,'' Duterte said.

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