MANILA - It's final.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano confirmed Monday night that they will run together in 2016.
Duterte and Cayetano made the confirmation in a gathering they attended in Greenhills, San Juan.
Cayetano, who has filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for vice president, said that Duterte's entry into the presidential race will be a game-changer.
"Wala s'yang pera, wala s'yang political machinery, but he (Duterte) will change the game," Cayetano said.
For Duterte, his reason for running was simple. He could not accept the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) ruling on the disqualification case against Senator Grace Poe.
"As a matter of principle di ko matanggap, ayaw ko magkaroon na tao na half-American," Duterte said.
"If you want an American president go to Grace. If you want a competent person, go to Mar. If you want a man of integrity, you vote for Binay. If you want brilliance, integrity and all, vote for Miriam. Ako, isipin n’yo na lang sa last week of election," Duterte added.
But Cayetano said Duterte's decision to run was beyond Poe.
"Hindi s’ya tatakbo para mang-inis lang kay Grace Poe. Tatakbo s’ya dahil dapat pantay ang batas sa lahat," Cayetano said.
Duterte said he will meet with his political party, PDP Laban, to formally arrange his candidacy with Cayetano.
Cayetano said they are expecting a hard and rough campaign now that Duterte has announced his entry into national politics.
"Limang libong drug lords na panay may pera ‘yan, mga smugglers at iba pa, mag-aambagan ‘yan huwag lang magkaroon ng Duterte, magbabago mundo nila eh," he said.
Both Duterte and Cayetano believe there are no legal impediments in the substitution of candidates to pave the way for Duterte's bid.
"Walang legal issues, we have many lawyers who looked at it. Under the law the substitution is allowed, valid ang filing ng PDP Laban," Cayetano said.
"I don’t know how the lawyers will fix it, but the lawyers were able to sort it out," Duterte added.
But veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Duterte's case may be a hard legal battle to hurdle.
READ: Duterte substitution faces hurdles: lawyer
"It appears that Martin Diño stated in his COC that he was running for ‘Mayor of Pasay City,’ then Duterte cannot sub for Diño as candidate for president. Diño's COC appears to be defective, hence, it cannot be the basis of any substitution because it is as if Diño never filed such COC," he said.
"Also, Diño was asked by Comelec to show cause why he should not be treated as a nuisance candidate. If Comelec later determines that Diño is a nuisance candidate for president, then the more reason that Duterte cannot sub for Diño," Macalintal added.
He explained that 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.
Macalintal said that if it is true that Duterte is running for president just because Poe was not disqualified by the SET, then this reason for running may be disappointing to the electorate, who expected a Duterte running for good governance, and not due to any emotional feeling over the fate of any presidential aspirant.
"Why should Poe's qualification be the motivating factor for Duterte to run? Why not a desire to really and fully serve the people?" he asked.
Macalintal believes the issues of citizenship and residency of Poe will reach the Supreme Court and only time can tell when the High Court could reach a final verdict.
"Baka tapos na ang election, wala pa ring final decision on these issues," Macalintal said.