It’s official: Duterte files COC for president But can he run?
(The Philippine Star) - November 27, 2015 - 9:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte made official his run for the presidency in the May 2016 elections by filing his certificate of candidacy (COC) before the local Commission on Elections office here yesterday.

Duterte filed his COC just after he withdrew his earlier bid to seek reelection as mayor.

At the same time, lawyer Salvador Medialdea filed Duterte’s COC before the Comelec main office in Manila.

Duterte is expected to face legal obstacles.

Broadcaster Ruben Castor has prepared a petition questioning Duterte’s substitution for Martin Diño, who filed a COC for mayor rather than as standard bearer of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban).

In the petition, copies of which were sent to media offices late yesterday, Castor sought to nullify Diño’s COC.

Duterte confirmed the filing of his COC for president through Medialdea. He reportedly signed the COC upon his arrival from Hong Kong the other day. 

“I have crossed the bridge … the Rubicon and there is no turning back. I place my future entirely in the hands of God,” Duterte told a press conference.

In his COC, Duterte stated he was nominated by the PDP-Laban as presidential candidate, replacing Diño.

As required, Duterte submitted a Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA), which was signed by PDP-Laban vice president Salvador Dy.

Duterte indicated in his COC that he is 70 years old and he has been a resident of the Philippines for 71 years and one month. He resides on Taal Road in Central Park Subdivision, Bangkal, of this city.

Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the poll body would still deliberate on Duterte’s COC as well as Diño’s, who withdrew his candicacy last Oct. 29.

“The normal procedure is to accept his COC. It is ministerial for us to receive the COC. The (Comelec’s) Law Department will have to elevate the case to the en banc (full session) and then we will deliberate,” Lim said.

Lim said the poll body would deliberate if Duterte met the requirements for substitution of a candidate.

Diño reportedly withdrew his candidacy to pave the way for the substitution by Duterte.

Castor, in his petition, said the COC of Diño was for mayor of Pasay City and therefore he could only withdraw his candidacy for that position.

He said Duterte could not substitute for Diño “whose COC is void, legally inexistent and without legal effect; hence, substitution shall likewise be void.”

Castor, however, pointed out that the petition was “not intended to pre-empt, but to promote the presidential candidacy of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who is worthy to run for president.”

“Precisely, this petition is intended to avoid violation of the mandatory law and penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold office consistent with Mayor Duterte’s resolute advocacy for the rule of law,” he said. 

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal also pointed out earlier that Duterte can’t run under PDP-Laban since Diño had filed a defective COC.

Diño’s COC indicated he was running for mayor of Pasay City, thus he cannot withdraw as a candidate for president.

Macalintal said Duterte can still run as the standard bearer of any major political party and be nominated before the Dec. 10 deadline allowing submission of substitute candidates.

Political parties have until Dec. 10 to file their nomination if they intend to substitute or replace any of their candidates in next year’s elections.

Duterte earlier filed a COC for the mayoralty race and has repeatedly rejected appeals for him to run for president.

However, Duterte declared the presidential run is now open, saying he could not allow Sen. Grace Poe to run, believing her to be an American citizen.

Duterte’s daughter Sara filed her COC to substitute for her father as mayoralty candidate of the city. His eldest son, Paolo, who is currently the vice mayor, is running unopposed for reelection.

‘Loose coalition’

Duterte made the announcement shortly after he filed his COC at the Comelec office in Davao City.

He then flew by helicopter to join boxing legend Rep. Manny Pacquiao at the Munato Festival in Sarangani.

Duterte declared Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano would be his running mate.

He said his “loose coalition” with Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. exists even after committing that Cayetano is his vice presidential candidate.

Both Marcos and Cayetano, who are members of the Nacionalista Party, have been asking to be Duterte’s vice presidential candidate should he decide to run for president. 

But while Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who is also running for president, has declared that Marcos is her running mate, Cayetano has doggedly pursued Duterte even if the mayor had earlier repeatedly declared that he was not running for president.

Duterte took issue with reports that he “rebuffed” Marcos to be his running mate.

“Rebuff is too harsh a term and I do not mean to rebuff friends,” he said.

Duterte said Marcos is also his friend, as well as Cayetano.

Duterte said he flew back from Manila to Davao on Thursday with Marcos. 

And the two were together yesterday to attend the annual Munato Festival at the Sarangani province as guests of Pacquiao.

“There was a mixed signal. Senator Miriam had announced that Marcos is her running mate. There was really just a lack of communication as a product of mixed signal,” Duterte said. 

Duterte said he had to explain to Marcos what really transpired.

“I already talked to Bongbong (Marcos). I have to patiently explain to him the circumstances that led to the lack of communication.”

He said Cayetano was there when he explained to Marcos what happened.

Duterte went to Hong Kong for a meeting with Cayetano.

He flew home the other night and told reporters at the airport that Cayetano would be his running mate and he would file his COC on Dec. 10.

In formalizing his candicacy, Duterte said he would embark on a “truth only” campaign and vowed he would never resort to black propaganda.

“In this campaign you can expect me not to get into any black propaganda. I would never resort to it,” Duterte said.

“Maybe I would answer valid ones, but never on speculations and offensive issues… I will continue to speak my truth. For after all I said that initially I just wanted a day in my life that I can face the Filipino people and speak my truth, which is how I really am,” he added. 

Duterte also stressed that in the next days he would be looking for money to finance his campaign but he does not want to be compromised into any debt of gratitude to anyone. 

“I will not ask for money from anybody, especially the moneyed people. I do not want to be compromised into utang na loob. In the next few days, I will look for money to finance my campaign. I am not a pauper. I can live comfortably after retirement but certainly that money cannot be used because I could get sick, I would need oxygen. I would have to pay hospitalization, I would not want to burden my children,” he said. 

Duterte admitted that to a certain extent, he was overwhelmed by the attention he has been getting lately, especially after he declared he was running for president. 

“I am sad I’ve lost my privacy. It is the position that counts – it is understandable because it is the presidency. I value my privacy. I have enough accolades in my life to last me a lifetime. I need not be president to fulfill any dream in life,” he said.

Duterte ticked off his list of priority programs he wishes to implement if elected president, including the streamlining of the government bureaucracy.

He said he is also very clear in his desire to reduce crime and eliminate drugs.

Duterte vowed to prioritize much-needed infrastructure in the country, especially the ports and airports as well as key roads, particularly in Metro Manila. – Sheila Crisostomo

ACIRC ATILDE CAYETANO COC DUTERTE LABAN MARCOS MAYOR NBSP PRESIDENT RUNNING
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