MANILA - Supporters of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are not giving up on their calls for the tough-talking mayor to run for president in 2016.
They might still have a chance, at least based on the rules of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which allow a candidate to withdraw his certificate of candidacy (COC) then file another one for a different position.
During a press briefing at the poll body's main office in Manila Thursday afternoon, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez was asked if it is possible for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to withdraw his COC for mayor then file another one for president.
Duterte's chief-of-staff Bong Go and Davao city administrator Melchor Quitain had filed the mayor's COC for re-election at around 2:30 p.m.
Quitain said Duterte has made a decision not to gun for the country's top post despite clamor for him to do so, and seek another term as mayor of Davao City instead.
Go also wore a shirt bearing the words "No is no" on the front, and "Sabi ko na ayaw ko, ang titigas ng ulo niyo - Rody Duterte" on the back.
Jimenez refused to give an opinion on the matter, saying it is "speculative."
"Yung specific na kaso ni Mayor Duterte at this point, speculative pa yan... We'll wait for that to happen," he said. "Di natin alam kung gagawin niya yan."
Jimenez, however, clarified that a candidate can indeed withdraw his COC and then file another one as long as it is within the filing period.
Friday, October 16, is the last day of filing of COCs.
According to Jimenez, a candidate can also file two COCs for two different positions then just withdraw one later, again, as long as it is within the filing period.
There is no need for a justification on the withdrawal, he said.
"If you file now, you file again and then withdraw one, that's fine. If you file now then you withdraw and then you file again, okay din yun," he explained.
Jimenez refused to give further statements, saying the poll body will just wait for a "concrete case" to happen.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson said the period for substitution for voluntary and involuntary (such as disqualification) withdrawals is until December.
Asked if there has already been a COC filer running for president under the PDP-Laban, the party of Duterte, Jimenez said none.
ON NUISANCE BETS
Meanwhile, Jimenez said the decision to declare an aspirant as a nuisance candidate is based on the character of the bet's candidacy and not on the individual himself.
The spokesman said they would also have to hear the side of the candidates before they will be declared as nuisance candidates.
He reiterated that nuisance candidates are those who make a mockery of the election system, or file COCs to confuse the voters through similarity of names.
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He said the Comelec would have to determine first if the COC filers have the capability to mount a campaign.
"When we talk about nuisance candidate, we talk about the nuisance or the character of their candidacy... not the individual. Hindi yung tao," Jimenez said.
"Kaya nagiging issue yung kakayanang magsagawa ng kampanya," he added.
He said a candidate needs to have enough funds to go around the country, if running for a national post, noting that utilizing the social media will not be enough.
He stressed not all Filipino voters are active on social media and the Internet.
"There's a question of the potential for a meaningful campaign," said Jimenez.