Petitioner appeals dismissal of DQ cases against Duterte

By , on February 4, 2016

Rodrigo Duterte/ (Photo from the official Facebook page of Duterte)
Rodrigo Duterte
(Photo from the official Facebook page of Duterte)

MANILA—Broadcaster Ruben Castor on Thursday filed a six-page motion for reconsideration seeking to overturn the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) decision to dismiss all four disqualification cases against presidential candidate Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte.

Castor is one of the petitioners in the dismissed disqualification cases against Duterte. The poll body’s First Division dismissed Castor’s petition due to errors, such as: Castor’s untimely filing of petition to deny due course; when indicators “unmistakably point out” Diño’s intention to run for president; and his absence in the preliminary conference. Castor contested these findings in his appeal.

Castor also argued in his appeal that Duterte’s substitution for Martin Diño was invalid because Duterte filed his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) for mayor of Pasay City while Diño filed his CoC for president.

“In case of conflict between form and substance [in Diño’s COC], the latter prevails. The substance is for mayor of Pasay City,” Castor said.

Revisiting rule on substitution

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Thursday said that the rules on substitution of candidates must be “revisited” to prevent the kind of Duterte-Diño substitution issue from happening again.

“First, why did respondent Diño make a mistake in his certificate of candidacy (COC) where he stated that he is running for mayor of Pasay City,” the Commissioner said in her 11-page separate opinion.

“While it is true, as found by the majority, that most of the circumstances and overt acts relative to the filing of respondent Diño’s COC show that he intended to file the same for the position of president, there was still no adequate convincing explanation given why respondent Diño made the mistake of writing that he was running for the position of mayor of Pasay City,” she added.

Despite her proposition to review the rules on substitution, Guanzon, along with Commissioners Christian Robert Lim and Luie Tito Guia, said that the substitution is “legally compliant.”

However, Guanzon said that Diño made use of the “loopholes” in the rules.

“(While the substitution) was legally compliant with relevant rules, the timing of the same gives the impression that it was done in order to take away this Commission’s power to declare Diño as a nuisance candidate, and consequently, to preserve his right to be substituted  by another candidate,” she said.

“I am uncomfortable with how respondent Diño appeared to have exploited a loophole in our rules in order to avoid the scrutiny which might have eventually found him a nuisance candidate, and at the same time, effectively extend the deadline for the filing of candidacy of his substitute.”

“These matters should not go unnoticed and should be addressed through an amendment of our rules or by the law itself,” she added.

“A victory”

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP-Laban) welcomed the decision of Comelec to dismiss the disqualification cases against Duterte.

“This is the victory of all those clamoring for real change. This is the victory of all those who are fed up with the continuing disorder, lack of security and equal opportunities in our country,”     PDP-Laban spokesperson Atty. Paola Alvarez said.

“We believe that the struggle for real change is a collective endeavor where the people are the masters of their own destiny. Thus, Mayor Duterte and Senator Cayetano will need the help and support of all those who are longing for genuine change,” she added.