Comelec accepts Duterte's COC

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Comelec accepts Duterte's COC 1
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte answers questions on DZMM's Halalan 2016 special "Ikaw Na Ba? Para Sa Pamilyang Pilipino" on Wednesday. Photo by Gigie Cruz for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA (UPDATE) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday announced that it has accepted the certificate of candidacy of Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte and his substitution for a party-mate.

In a press briefing, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said the Comelec's full bench (en banc), voting 6-1, ''resolved to acknowledge and accept the COC for president of Rodrigo Duterte, being a ministerial function of the commission.''

Bautista clarified, however, that the resolution ''is entirely without prejudice to the pending disqualification case'' filed by broadcaster Ruben Castor.

Castor earlier asked the Comelec to nullify erstwhile PDP-Laban presidential bet Martin Diño's COC and render Duterte's substitution for him invalid.

Castor argued that Duterte cannot substitute for Diño because the latter wrote in his COC for president that he is running for the position of Pasay City mayor.

READ: 6 things to know about Rodrigo Duterte

Bautista explained that with the full Comelec's resolution, Duterte is now included in the list of presidential bets.

''Dati wala pa siya sa listahan eh, kasi 'di pa tinanggap ang substitution kasi nga there had to be a positive act from the Comelec en banc to accept the substitution. And that's what the resolution says – we are accepting the substitution, but subject to the cases,'' Bautista said.

The Comelec's first division is set to conduct a hearing on Castor's petition tomorrow, December 18.

First Division chairman Christian Robert Lim noted that on Tuesday, the panel already deemed the Castor petition submitted for resolution, but ''members requested for a hearing. Since there was a majority, I had to set the hearing for the Castor case."

Lim explained that Duterte's substitution for Diño was ''administratively'' accepted by the Comelec en banc because it was able to satisfy the requirements set by the Omnibus Election Code for the substitution of a candidate.

''Basically, there was a compliance with matters of form. In terms of the intrinsic validity of the COC, that's the subject of the case,'' Lim said.

''It has to be solved by the division and go to the en banc."

READ: Duterte substitution faces hurdles: lawyer

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