• Duterte DQ cases up for resolution

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    THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has terminated the oral argument on the four petitions seeking to disqualify Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte from the presidential derby.

    Comelec First Division chairman Senior Commissioner Christian Robert Lim on Tuesday directed all petitioners and the respondent to submit their respective memoranda on Friday after which the case will be submitted for resolution.

    The petitioners were John Paulo delas Nieves, chairman of the University of the Philippines Student Council, broadcasters Ruben Castor and Rizalito David and Elly Pamatong.

    Yesterday, oral arguments on the petitions of Nieves, David and Pamatong were heard since Castor’s case has been deliberated upon in December.

    Although the poll body dismissed the petition filed by Nieves because he did not show up during the preliminary conference, it was still included in the deliberations because no formal order dropping the case has been issued yet.

    During the oral arguments, Duterte’s counsel Vitaliano Aguirre sought the inhibition of Commissioner Rowena Guanzon because she was allegedly close Sheila Bazar, the counsel of Nieves.

    But Bazar said that Aguirre’s claim was absurd. She admitted that she and Guanzon belong to a women’s right lawyers group but that has nothing to do with the case.

    The petitioners questioned the validity of Duterte’s substitution for Martin Diño.

    “There was no valid substitution because Diño did not have a valid COC for president. What he filed was a COC for mayor of Pasay City,” Bazar said.

    Aguirre argued that it was merely a typographical error but Bazar stressed that such a “material defect” rendered the COC of Diño invalid.

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