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Lawyer who sued Duterte at ICC questions disqualification from Senate race

The lawyer who first accused President Rodrigo Duterte of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday asked the Supreme Court to allow him to seek a Senate seat in the May 13 elections.

In a petition, lawyer Jude Sabio urged the SC to nullify and set aside earlier issuances by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualifying him from the midterm polls for supposedly being a nuisance senatorial candidate.

"The longstanding practice of respondent Comelec to merely target a candidate as a suspected nuisance at the outset on the mere insinuation of lack of financial capacity, without any prior factual basis therefor, is wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional," Sabio said in the petition.

Sabio, who identifies as Duterte's "bitter critic and legal archenemy," said he has gained "national prominence" in the last two years for being the lawyer of Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascanas, alleged former members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, and for bringing a case against Duterte and his officials before the ICC.

The communication filed by Sabio is undergoing preliminary examination by the ICC's Office of the Prosecutor.

Claiming he is a presumed bonafide candidate, Sabio said the Comelec, "of course under the direction of Malacañang, unceremoniously targeted and denounced him as a nuisance senatorial bet under circumstances betraying a grave abuse of discretion" on the part of the poll body.

"On the whole and as a matter of fact, it has not been validly alleged and proven by respondent Comelec that petitioner has the intention only to mock or ridicule the electoral process or to confuse the electorate and frustrate the popular will," he said in the filing.

The Court of Appeals has recently ordered a lower court to lift and recall a warrant of arrest against Sabio for his alleged failure to a pay a P2,000 fine for supposed non-compliance with the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education for lawyers— RSJ, GMA News