MANILA—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has accepted on Thursday the Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) of Davao mayor Rodrigo Duterte. However, the poll body stressed that its acceptance of Duterte’s COC is only a “ministerial function of the commission” and that disqualification cases against Duterte will still be heard by the poll body.
“After deliberation (Wednesday) afternoon, the commission, voting 6 to 1, resolved to acknowledge and accept the certificate of candidacy (COC) for president of Rodrigo Duterte, being a ministerial function of the commission,” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista was quoted as saying in a Philippine Star report.
“I think what this means is that he is now in our list of candidates. So that was an administrative decision that the Comelec en banc made. But again I would like to emphasize this is without prejudice to any disqualification cases that had been filed or may have been filed against him,” he added, referring to the disqualification case filed by broadcaster Ruben Castor against Duterte.
Six out of seven members of the commission ruled in Duterte’s favor. They were: Commissioners Sheriff Abas, Andres Bautista, Luie Tito Guia, Arthur Lim, Christian Robert Lim and Al Parreño.
Commissioner Rowena Guanzon voted no due to the pending disqualification case against Duterte.
“There is a pending case, Castor versus Duterte (15-194 DC), wherein the petitioner alleges that Duterte’s COC is void because it contains untruthful facts or misrepresentation. There is also the issue regarding his notarized documents. The truth or falsity of which must be determined before his COC is accepted,” she said in the same report.
Duterte’s running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, hoped that Comelec will give a fair ruling.
“We hope that the Comelec First Division will also be fair as it settles the disqualification issue against Mayor Duterte. This is a simple open and shut case and we are clearly on the side of the law and jurisprudence,” he was quoted as saying in an Inquirer.net report.
Meanwhile, Comelec assured objectivity in trying the disqualification case against Duterte.
“No special treatment for anyone. We try to objectively assess each and every case,” Bautista said in the same report.
Following the acceptance of his CoC, Duterte has promised to “act presidentiable” and ignore another presidential candidate, Secretary Mar Roxas.
“I will not reply to his statements anymore. I will just snub him because he did not really graduate from Wharton. Besides, he is desperate to improve his ratings because he is last at number four, he is doing everything to be talked about because he knows he will never be President,” he said in the same report.
“I will tour the country and explain to the people what I intend to do with the peace process, law and order, the problems on illegal drugs, government reorganization and economic plans to improve the lives of Filipinos,” he added.