MANILA – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte arrived at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office on Tuesday to formalize the filing of his certificate of candidacy for president.
A representative, Atty. Salvador Medialdea, already filed Duterte's COC on his behalf at the Comelec's law department last November 27, days after the tough-talking mayor announced that he is finally gunning for the presidency.
Duterte's camp said the mayor's decision to troop to the poll body's headquarters will erase doubts about the validity of his COC.
Throngs of supporters greeted Duterte, some carrying a large tarpaulin bearing the message ''Duterte substitution, huwag hadlangan."
Duterte was also accompanied by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who was named by the mayor as his running mate.
DUTERTE CLEARS HURDLE
In what was considered an initial victory for Duterte, the Comelec on Monday dismissed the petition seeking to declare Partidong Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) presidential bet Martin Diño as a nuisance candidate.
The poll body's second division ruled that the petition was already ''moot and academic'' since Diño had already withdrawn his COC even before the poll body could decide on the petition.
Duterte's allies believe Diño's withdrawal 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 Diño's withdrawal means that Duterte has no one to substitute for.
But former Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Duterte can still substitute for Diño since the withdrawal of a candidate is one of the grounds for substitution.
Brillantes also downplayed the error in Diño's COC, saying the ''controlling document'' is PDP-Laban's certificate of nomination and acceptance.
A petition was earlier filed by broadcaster Ruben Castor seeking to nullify Diño's COC for president. The Comelec will reportedly hear the validity of Duterte's substitution on December 16. - with a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News