THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division committed “jurisdictional errors” when it junked all four petitions seeking to disqualify Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, according to the counsel of one of the petitioners.
“While we respect the opinion of the Honorable First Division of the Comelec, we believe that it committed jurisdictional errors in dismissing the consolidated cases,” Manuelito Luna, counsel for broadcaster RizalitoDavid, told The Manila Times, adding that “the issues [against Duterte]are purely legal.”
According to Luna, the sheer length of the resolution to justify the ruling showed that there were errors.
Among them, he noted, was the First Division’s findings that Martin Diño was validly substituted and that Duterte validly filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president, and the COC was filed in time.
Luna claimed that the filing of COC was invalid because the local party that nominated Duterte for mayor, the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, never withdrew its nomination.
“The nomination of Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod was never withdrew the official nomination of Mayor Duterte for mayor of Davao City, therefore the substitution of Duterte by his daughter Sarah is invalid and legally infirm and therefore (Duterte) could not possibly substitute for Diño,” Luna explained.
He explained that this particular issue was addressed by the Supreme Court in the Ramirez vs Comelec case, wherein the High Court ruled that when a political party nominates a candidate, the political party should first withdraw the nomination before said candidate can run for another office.
“Overall, Diño and Dutertde made a mockery of the election through their acts,” the lawyer told The Times.
Luna said they will ask the Comelec en banc to reverse the decision of the Fist Division. He added that they will go to the Supreme Court if necessary.
All three members of the First Division chaired by Senior Commissioner Robert Christian Lim voted to dismiss the petitions for lack of merit.
In its resolution, the First Division ruled that Diño filed a valid COC for president.
It added that Duterte has not committed any material representation in his COC for president and his substitution for Diño as candidate for president is valid.