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After Poe, David wants Duterte disqualified from presidential race

MANILA, Philippines - After getting Sen. Grace Poe disqualified from the presidential race, Rizalito David is now after another presidential hopeful – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

David, who is also running for president, filed a petition yesterday with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to declare the substitution of Martin Diño by Duterte as “null and void.”

The Comelec’s First and Second Divisions disqualified Poe over questions regarding her citizenship and residency status. She is appealing the decisions before the full Comelec.

In a nine-page petition, David said Duterte’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for president was not valid because it was filed “beyond the deadline which was Oct. 16, 2015.”

“Per resolution of the commission, the filing for COC in connection with the May 9, 2016 national and local elections was set on Oct. 12-16, 2015, which was more than two months ago. Incidentally, Duterte did not file his COC for president on the dates set. What he filed was a COC for city mayor for Davao,” the petition read.

Duterte filed his COC on Nov. 27, almost a month after Diño withdrew his COC where he declared that he was running for mayor of Pasay City.

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According to the petition, allowing Duterte to substitute for Diño “will just perpetrate another serious legal breach.”

“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,” David said in his petition.

David said it was an “understatement” to consider Duterte as having violated the law with impunity “with the cooperation” of Diño.

“They desecrated the system  with impunity and on the part of the commission en banc it acted prematurely and was too soft, if not overly accommodating,” David said in his petition.

He added that since there was no valid substitution and that Duterte’s COC was filed out of time, the Davao City mayor’s candidacy “cannot, therefore, take off.”              

“The commission cannot turn a blind eye to those violations. It cannot play deaf and blind to these circumventions, otherwise the integrity of the commission will be put into question,” the petition read. 

In an interview, David said Duterte is “making a mockery of the Rules of Law and all the processes.”

“It’s just like how he mocked his own supporters. He kept changing his mind about running,” David added.  

Diño, for his part, said he is willing to testify before the Comelec to explain the clerical error he committed when he filed his COC as well as defend Duterte against moves to have the mayor disqualified.

“I am consulting our lawyers if I can testify during the Dec. 28 hearing on the disqualification case against Mayor Duterte,” he said.

Diño said a receiving clerk discovered the clerical error and referred the matter to the commissioner on duty.

“I asked if I can correct the error but I was told that the commissioner on duty said correction is no longer necessary,” he said.

Diño said it was only after the clerical error leaked to the media that it became a basis of a complaint against Duterte’s candidacy.

“I am hoping that my testimony would help in the dismissal of the case filed against Mayor Duterte” he said.

Rail system priority

Meanwhile, Duterte’s running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said establishing a railway system in Mindanao to ensure a more efficient movement and delivery of farm produce would be a priority under a Duterte administration.

“Enough with our NCR-centric approach in tackling economic development. Surely, if the national government can fund the construction of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in Metro Manila, which costs P50 billion worth of the public’s money, it can also do the same for Mindanao’s long cherished dream of a railway system,” Cayetano said Wednesday during a consultative meeting with banana farmers in Kidapawan City. – With Perseus Echeminada, Mike Frialde

 

 

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