Dela Rosa readiness to back out could make him 'nuisance candidate' — election lawyer

Dela Rosa readiness to back out could make him 'nuisance candidate' â election lawyer
Sen. Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa files his certificate of candidacy for president under PDP-Laban in this photo dated October 8, 2021.
Photo by COMELEC on Twitter

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, standard-bearer of a faction of the administration PDP-Laban party, could face petitions to have him declared as a nuisance candidate for openly saying he will drop out to give way to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, an election lawyer for Vice President Leni Robredo said Monday. 

Speaking on ABS-CBN News Channel, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said that anyone who files a certificate of candidacy with no genuine intention of running should be treated as a nuisance candidate.

"Under the law, he could be declared as a nuisance candidate, and the one substituting him cannot [do so] because it is as if no COC was filed," he said. He also said he would not advise Robredo, who is also running for president, to go that route.

"A petitioner can just say...if by November 15, you withdraw your COC, that is the proof that you really had no intention to run for your position." 

In arguing that these candidates are making a "mockery" of the electoral process, Macalintal cited Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, which says that "acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed" allow the Comelec to cancel a COC on its own initiative. 

The election code says that similar acts "prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate...if it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters."

Although Dela Rosa said he would be willing to give way to Duterte-Carpio, he has also said he filed his candidacy for president because his party told him to.

Earlier Monday, Dela Rosa disclosed that he was told to file his COC with hours left in the filing period on Friday as he reiterated again his willingness to drop out should Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio decide to run for the country's top post. 

"[PDP-Laban president Alfonso] Cusi called me at 3 o'clock in the afternoon on Friday telling me to go to Sofitel to file a COC," he said in Filipino, referring to the Pasay City hotel where filing was done.

"If she will accept the offer to be PDP-Laban’s standard-bearer, then by all means, I will withdraw my COC," Dela Rosa said.

In a radio interview aired over DWIZ on Saturday, Dela Rosa said: "By all I will give way. As I have said, it was not my personal decision to run for president, this is a party decision."

"Anytime she can be sworn in as a member and be given a certificate of nomination and acceptance by the PDP-Laban, so there’s no problem with that...It would depend on whether or not Inday Sara wanted to run and accept the offer of our party," he was quoted as saying. 

Reacting to Dela Rosa's statement, Macalintal said: "You are not sure you are going to run...that in itself could be used as a ground to declare him or to file the petition to declare him a nuisance candidate. It would be up to the Comelec to evaluate the arguments." — Franco Luna 




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