MANILA – Losing 2013 senatorial bet Rizalito David on Monday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to exclude Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte from the presidential race.
In his petition, David asked the Comelec to declare as null and void Duterte's substitution for erstwhile PDP-Laban presidential bet Martin Diño and order the cancellation of the mayor's certificate of candidacy ''for not having validly and seasonably filed."
The petition comes after the Comelec en banc accepted the certificate of candidacy of Duterte for president, subject to a final ruling on the merits of an earlier petition filed by a certain Ruben Castor which also questioned the validity of Duterte's substitution for Diño.
David's petition stated he decided to ask for the cancellation of Duterte's COC pursuant to the Comelec rules of procedure, as amended by Resolution no. 9523 in relation to the Omnibus Election Code.
The petition seeks to resolve 2 issues: Whether or not Duterte's COC was validly filed and whether or not Duterte validly substituted for Diño.
David pointed out that Duterte's COC was filed beyond the October 16 deadline so it is not seasonably filed.
David also pointed out that another reason why Duterte's COC could not be considered as having been validly filed is that Diño's withdrawal of his COC was in circumvention of the Comelec Rules of Procedure as amended by Resolution 9523. David said that being so, he could not be substituted much less by Duterte.
"The supposed substitute could not have substituted Diño simply because he had previously filed a COC for mayor, and to allow him to do so will just perpetuate another serious legal breach. This is not permissible much less tolerable lest the commission will be accused of bias in the application of the laws it enforces and administers,'' he said.
"Undeniably the commission has sinned thrice along the way…To think that these coincided with the cancellations of the COC's of over a hundred other individuals is too much of a coincidence."
"Not only is Duterte's COC for president not validly and seasonably filed but the substitution itself is legally infirm. Suffice it to say that substitution of candidates is governed by law and cannot be left to the will of certain personalities."
Speaking to reporters, David said allowing Duterte to run in the 2016 presidential race would be a mockery of the law.
''Itong bagay na ito is a mockery of the rule of law. It's a mockery of the processes just like how he mocked his own supporters na pabalik-balik siya magpa-file ako 'di ako mag pa-fafile, pupunta ako hindi ako pupunta. So mas maganda na once and for all madesisyunan ito ng maayos," he said.
David explained that he decided to file the disqualification case against Duterte because as it turned out, the Castor camp is supportive of the mayor.
''I did this because the other guys who filed disqualification cases against him are parang playing around. Parang ginagawa nila, 'maka-Duterte naman kami kaya lang gusto namin malaman ano yung tamang procedure.' Ano ba itong ginagawa natin sa eleksyon natin?"
David, who filed a quo warranto case against presidential aspirant Senator Gace Poe, denied he is systematically excluding presidential candidates from the election.
He said he has not seen any violations on the part of other candidates.
''Wala ako nakita so far dun sa finile nung ibang kandidato. Dito malinaw yung violation ni Grace, constitutional yan. Ito naman kay Duterte, violation naman ng procedures,'' he said.
Duterte also downplayed Poe and Duterte's status as survey frontrunners.
''Well that is still questionable . We're not even in the campaign period to say that they are frontrunners. The surveys are really meant to condition the minds of the people,'' he said.
''We have not yet even presented our platforms. How can you say that the people are for them already?"
David added he is doing this for the country. "Ang makikinabang niyan ay samabayan hindi sinuman. Kung yung mas nararapat na mahalal ay yun ang mahahalal, mas maganda."
Later on, David admitted thatDuterte's cursing at the Pope motivated him even more.
''Bakit si Duterte? Meron akong personal na concern din dito nung minura niya ang Santo Papa. I took that personally. I love the Pope,'' he said.