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Comelec consolidates disqualification cases vs. Duterte


The Commission on Elections First Division has decided to consolidate the three petitions seeking to bar Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte from running for president in 2016.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Comelec chair Andres Bautista said the panel—composed of Commissioners Christian Robert Lim, Luie Tito Guia, and Rowena Guanzon—will collectively look into the petitions, which all say Duterte's substitution of PDP-Laban's Martin Diño is not valid.

"Pare-pareho naman 'yung mga issues," Bautista told reporters.

The First Division will hear the cases on Tuesday, Bautista said, adding that Duterte's name is currently still in the list of candidates.

The Comelec en banc earlier ruled to "acknowledge and accept" Duterte's COC for president.

According to the clerk of the commission, the First Division will hear the petitions filed by Rizalito  David, University of the Philippines-Diliman Student Council chair JP delas Nieves, and Elly Pamatong.

Petitions

David—who also sought the disqualification of Senator Grace Poe before the Senate Electoral Tribunal—and Pamatong were among the more than 100 presidential aspirants whose candidacies were deemed nuisance by the poll body.

In a petition to deny due course filed on December 21, David said the mayor's COC was "not seasonably filed," given that Duterte missed the filing period in October, when he instead filed for reelection in Davao City.

He also scored Duterte for filing his COC for president only on Nov. 27, about a month after Diño withdrew his candidacy in late October, and named him as substitute.

Moreover, he said the Comelec "acted prematurely and was too soft, if not overly accommodating."

Pamatong, meanwhile, filed a separate petition to declare Duterte a "nuisance COC applicant."

The said petition was filed two weeks earlier, but was officially accepted also on December 21 after Pamatong paid the P10,000 filing fee.

In it, Pamatong called Duterte a "communist supremo, jueteng lord of lords, mass murderer, and fanatically anti-American."

He added that Duterte's substitution of Diño was not valid as the latter wrote that he was running for mayor of Pasay City.

Delas Nieves likewise raised the invalidity of the substitution, adding that the events leading to Duterte's filing of COC for president showed that he, along with Diño, intended "to mock, debase, and taint the integrity" of the 2016 presidential elections.

Moreover, he accused Duterte of committing "deliberate" misrepresentation of "a material fact" in his COC because "in truth and in fact he is openly flouting duly promulgated laws and the Constitution."

Ruben Castor

The panel previously heard the petition filed by broadcaster Ruben Castor, which is now awaiting resolution.

The said petition was submitted for resolution after Castor and his lawyer Oliver Lozano failed to appear before the preliminary conference, during which lawyers of Duterte, Martin Diño and PDP-Laban sought its dismissal.

The First Division, however, decided to have it submitted for resolution, then announced a day later that a hearing was still scheduled on Dec. 18.

Castor and Lozano clarified there that they have nothing against Duterte running for president, but are only opposed to the fact that he is substituting for Diño.

Duterte's camp is seeking the dismissal of the said petition as it had no course of action against the mayor. —NB, GMA News

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