MANILA – Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte has been cleared of the last possible hurdle to his presidency after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) unanimously junked the disqualification cases hurled against him.
In its 20-page resolution released on Monday, the Comelec en banc junked the Motions for Reconsideration (MRs) of the four cases against the Davao City Mayor.
“Premises considered, the Motions for Reconsideration are hereby denied. The Resolution dated February 3, 2016 of the Comelec First Division is hereby affirmed,” said the decision dated May 31, 2016.
The seven-man panel noted that the appeals filed by the petitioners failed to offer any new arguments that would warrant the reversal of the decision of the First Division.
“A careful review of the MRs reveals that Petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds. Moreover, the Petitioners failed to raise new matters or arguments that warrant the reversal of the Resolution dated February 3. Instead, the Petitioners merely harped on matters which the Commission had judiciously and thoroughly considered and ruled upon as unmeritorious,” the Comelec said.
It added, “Verily, the Petitioners’ MRs are bereft of any new allegation or novel matter and issue, which have not been previously passed upon by the Comelec First Division; neither did they prove and substantiate the errors of law allegedly committed by the Comelec First Division. Consequently, the Commission en banc finds no reason to reverse the assailed resolution.”
The commission en banc also said that ruling on allegations that the respondent is a nuisance candidate for having allegedly committed extra judicial killings and coddling communist rebels, are already beyond their jurisdiction.
“The issues affecting the qualification of Duterte for the elective position of President must be ventilated and resolved before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. These issues cannot be resolved by this Commission,” said the poll body.
It added that Duterte had already been found to be a legal substitute for PDP-Laban’s original presidential bet, Martin Dino.
“In this instant case, Dino was an official nominee of the PDP-Laban, thus, he can be validly substituted. The next question is whether Duterte complied with all of the requirements for a valid substitution. The answer is in the affirmative,” the Resolution said.
Last Feb. 3, the Comelec First Division dismissed all the four petitions filed by broadcaster Ruben Castor, nuisance presidential candidates Rialto David and Eli Pamatong, and University of the Philippines (UP) Student Council Chairman John Paulo Delas Nieves.
Duterte is set to take his oath as the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines on June 30.