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Martin Diño withdraws candidacy for president, names Duterte as substitute

(Updated) Martin Diño of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) has officially withdrawn his candidacy for president in the 2016 elections and named Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as substitute.

Duterte, who is running for re-election in next year's elections, has repeatedly said he is not interested in running for president despite calls from his supporters and party-mates.

Diño withdrew his candidacy two days after his party, the PDP-Laban, passed a resolution compelling Duterte, also a member of the party, to substitute in case Diño withdraws from the presidential race or is disqualified from running.

Sought for comment on whether the PDP-Laban could still field a substitute for Diño, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said, "We will study."

In a phone interview with GMA News Online on Thursday, Diño said he withdrew after learning that he is likely to be declared as a nuisance candidate by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

"May pinadala sa akin ang legal department ng Comelec na motu propio na dini-declare na ako'y nuisance candidate," he said.

Diño maintained that PDP-Laban, where he is secretary general, is a legitimate political party.

"Pinagtataka namin ito dahil meron akong legitimate political party. Si [former] President Cory Aquino, galing PDP-Laban. Si [Vice President] Jejomar Binay, galing PDP-Laban. Pati si [ex-Senator] Nene Pimentel," he said.

He also said that for the 2016 elections, they will be fielding candidates for councilor, mayor, governor and congressman.

He also cried foul over the Comelec law department's decision, insisting that he is qualified to seek the highest position in the land.

"Pagkaka-alam ko, para maging candidate sa pagka-presidency, apat lang ang requirements: registered voter, kayang magbasa at magsulat, at least 40 years old, at natural-born Filipino. Wala namang sinabi na bilyonaryo," Diño said.

"Ang Comelec, sabi nila pinopropagate nila ang political maturity. Parang taliwas sa sinasabi ng chairman nila ang ginagawa ng legal department," he added. —with a report from Joseph Morong/KBK/NB, GMA News