DUTERTE CANNOT BE SUBSTITUTE CANDIDATE UNDER THE OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE

durian beat

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Speculations that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte can still run for President as substitute candidate of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) can be shot down by the Omnibus Election Code.

Duterte may not qualify as a substitute under the provision on party affiliation of the substitute candidate under the Code.

Records at the Commission on Election (Comelec) in Davao City where Duterte filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) and Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) for Mayor of Davao City showed Duterte’s party affiliation as Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod and not PDP-Laban.

Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that “if after the last day for the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC), an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws, or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate.”

On October 14, Duterte filed his COC for Mayor at the Comelec in Davao City.

On Ocober 16, the last day of filing of the COC for local elective positions, speculations were that, at the last minute, Duterte’s COC would be pulled out and replaced with the COC for Mayor of his daughter former Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.

On the same day in Manila at the Intramuros main office of the Comelec, where candidates for national elective positions (President, Vice President and Senators) are to file their COC, Duterte supporters massed in large number in wake of rumors Duterte would file his COC for President.

At the end of the day, there was no withdrawal of Duterte’s COC in Davao City nor was there a COC filed by Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Wild rumors had said that Duterte would fly by jet to Manila to file his COC, but the 5PM deadline struck without a Duterte appearing in Intramuros.

The agonizing wait for Digong to show up was so intense that Mar Masanguid, spearhead of the Duterte for President Movement, went loco. As frustration swept the nation at the thought of  Duterte opting out of the race, Masanguid transformed into a prophet saying that an eclipse would happen any minute and when the lights return Duterte would be in Intramuros filing his COC.

On the same tense afternoon, minutes before the 5PM deadline for filing of the COC, a Martin Dinio, an officer of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), filed his COC for President as a party member of the PDP-Laban.

As the shock and frustration at Duterte not running for President settled down, Duterte supporters and overnight political analysts saw hope in Dinio, whose filing his COC for President was seen as a political strategy that would ultimately end at Duterte running for President as a substitute candidate.

The deadline for filing of substitution candidates is on December 10.

Rumors have it that Dinio would eventually withdraw to be replaced by Duterte as a substitute candidate on December 10.

But Duterte, who has been from the start consistent in his position that he is not interested in the presidency, himself has ruled out running as a substitute candidate. In his latest statement to media (October 16 in Manila) aired on a Davao City television network on October 19, Duterte gave a dismal figure of 30 percent on the possibility of his running as a substitute candidate.

Duterte’s Comelec-registered local party the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod said Duterte is not running for President as a substitute candidate.

Still, the substitution thing persists.

But back to the Omnibus Election Code.

Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that “if after the last day for the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC), an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws, or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate.”

     To simplify:

  1. the candidate who withdraws should belong to an accredited political party; and

  2. the substitute candidate should belong to the same accredited political party.

     Applied to the case at bar, the Dinio-Duterte case:

  1. the candidate who would withdraw his COC, Dinio, is a member of the PDP-Laban; and

  2. the substitute candidate, Duterte, based on his COC filed with the Comelec in Davao City, is a member of the Comelec-accredited local party, Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod and not PDP-Laban.

So there.

Based on the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code, Duterte could not qualify as a substitute candidate because he does not belong to the party of Dinio, as shown in the COC of Duterte filed in Davao City.

Of course, it is well known that Duterte is also a member of the PDP-Laban, which was in fact one of the parties that carried him to his first mayoral race in 1988 as candidate of the Lakas ng Dabaw political bloc.

If the substitution “strategy” is real, will the Comelec accept Duterte’s COC for President if PDP-Laban claim him as a party member and nominate him as a substitute for Dinio?

I am no lawyer but I learned a lot about law as a student of the late brilliant lawyer Onofre Francisco, former dean of the Law School of the University of Mindanao and former Davao City Legal Officer. For years, we were beer-guzzling buddies but people did not know that while downing cases of San Miguel in Taipan Restaurant along Anda, Francisco was actually holding an extension law class for me as a student of his Taipan School of Law.

I may not be a lawyer, but based on the volume of beer and legal gobbledygook  I consumed under the tutorship of Francisco, and of course with the facts on hand, I could say that Duterte will not qualify as a substitute candidate for President in the 2016 election, based on the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code.

Is Digong Hugpong or PDP-Laban?

According to anchor Tek Ocampo in his report in 24 Oras in GMA Davao on October 19, Digong is Hugpong not PDP-Laban based on his COC filed with Comelec in Davao City.

What if PDP-Laban insists that Duterte replace Dinio?

We see a grand legal battle ahead.

I did not top the bar at Francisco’s Taipan Law School not because I am a dumb student but because I failed to break his record of one case of beer per drinking session/per day and still standing.

So if I am hired as a  lawyer, I would advise Mar Roxas, Jejomar Binay and Grace Poe that the best way to steal away a rare, will-never-come-again opportunity for this country to have  the best President the Filipinos will ever have, would be to hire the best lawyers in the country including Rani Leonar to stop Duterte as not qualified as a substitute candidate for President under the Omnibus Election Code.

I would not like to appear a killjoy, with Dabawenyos and the millions of Pinoys salivating at Duterte becoming President, but I belong to the silent majority who would not want Duterte to be stolen from us.

My hair is seven years long and I did not have it cut unlike those sipsips who went pronto to the barber to have their scalp shaved after misinterpreting Inday Sara’s shaven head as a sign of support to a Duterte presidency. I read Sara’s going bald and her post on her Facebook account as a sarcastic remark at her dad running for President without money and machinery and a sure defeat staring in the eye.

Digong is owned by the Dabawenyos and to hell with Malacanang!

From now on, anybody who talks about Duterte for President — Pansakan nako ug tibook durian ilang baba!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s