Duterte campaign goes into high gear
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – With legal impediments out of the way, the campaign for the presidency of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would shift to high gear, his congressional allies said yesterday.

This developed even as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was asked yesterday to reconsider its junking of all disqualification cases against the mayor.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez welcomed the move of the Comelec to dismiss the disqualification suits filed against Duterte.

Nograles said the dismissal was a clarion call to all those who are having second thoughts about their support for Duterte’s presidential bid. 

He said he now expects a groundswell of support for Duterte.

“With no more legal impediments to the candidacy of Mayor Rody Duterte for president, we expect more support from the grassroots and local leaders,” Nograles said.

“The timing is perfect. With this chapter coming to a close, and the official national campaign about to begin, we shall now consolidate the forces between those who have been with us and those who are going to join us,” he said.

Romualdez, a common senatorial candidate of Duterte and Vice President Jejomar Binay, said the Comelec ruling would help maintain the faith of Filipinos in the electoral process.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, however, mocked Duterte.

“Congratulations. He’s now a legitimate candidate. I hope he acts like a serious candidate and stop playing cute,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez, spokesman for the Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid, said Duterte should be more careful when issuing statements so he would not have to take them back later.

Broadcaster Ruben Castor yesterday filed a motion for reconsideration (MR) insisting that the ruling of the Comelec’s First Division to dismiss the consolidated disqualification cases against Duterte is erroneous.  

On Wednesday, Commissioners Rowena Guanzon, Christian Robert Lim and Luie Tito Guia of the First Division voted unanimously to dismiss the consolidated disqualification cases filed against Duterte by Castor, Rizalito David, University of the Philippines Student Council chairman John Paulo delas Nieves and Elly Pamatong.

Guanzon, however, sought an amendment to the rules and laws to prevent a repeat of the Duterte substitution case.

In her 11-page separate opinion, Guanzon said that Duterte’s substitution for Martin Diño as standard bearer of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban was “legally compliant” with Section 77 and 73 of the Omnibus Election Code.

Aside from this, she noted, there is no material misrepresentation in Duterte’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for president.

“(But) despite my agreement… there are still lingering points that I believe demand further discourse and may require an amendment of the Rules of Procedure and other rules of the Comelec,” she added.

Former senator Panfilo Lacson said he agrees with Duterte’s plan to restore the death penalty should he be elected president. 

Lacson, who is running for the Senate in the May polls, said the country has become a drug haven, that is why he is pushing for the revival of the death penalty. 

“We’re like-minded in that regard. Especially for big-time drug lords, reinstall the death penalty. I’m in full agreement because big Chinese drug lords find haven here,” Lacson said. 

He said illegal drugs proliferated in the Philippines because there is no death penalty for those engaged in the trade compared to other countries like China, Singapore and even Indonesia where suspects are executed after due process. 

Duterte has been pushing for the revival of the death penalty as he said hardened criminals make life hard for law-abiding citizens in this country.

Meanwhile, Duterte said he is also willing to amend the 1987 Constitution to allow foreign-owned businesses to flourish here and infuse capital for cash-strapped homeside businesses.

Under the protectionist clause of the Constitution (Article XII), foreign ownership of property is restricted to a 40 percent baseline share.

“I can be comfortable with 70-30 percent [in favor of foreign ownership]. I would go as far as 70 (percent). Ang Filipino wala namang pera (has no money) that is the problem,” Duterte said after attending the Wallace Business Forum with businessmen in Makati City on Wednesday night. – With Edith Regalado, Mike Frialde, Robertzon Ramirez, Alexis Romero

ACIRC ALEXIS ROMERO ANG FILIPINO BROADCASTER RUBEN CASTOR CHRISTIAN ROBERT LIM AND LUIE TITO GUIA OF THE FIRST DIVISION COMELEC COMMISSIONERS ROWENA GUANZON DAANG MATUWID DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE DUTERTE NBSP
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