LIPA CITY, Batangas: The decision on who should lead the country after President Benigno Aquino 3rd steps down in 2016 must be left to the Filipino people, independent presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe insisted.
Poe, who is facing four disqualification cases at the Commission on Elections (Comelec), made the statement in defense of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte whose presidential candidacy was questioned immediately after the filing of his certificate of candidacy (COC).
Duterte on Friday officially filed his COC as president, substituting for Martin Diño, the presidential candidate of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), who withdrew his candidacy.
But radioman Ruben Castor filed a petition also on Friday asking the Comelec to nullify Duterte’s COC. Castor claimed that Duterte is not qualified to be a substitute presidential candidate for PDP-Laban.
He pointed out that the Davao mayor can only replace Diño as the party’s mayoral candidate in Pasay City and not as standard bearer.
Poe said the mayor should be allowed to pursue his candidacy because he is qualified to run.
“He has served his province, and there are many who believe in him,” she added.
Poe noted that the will of the people should stand because the electorate have the right to choose who should be the next president of the country.
The senator recalled that when a disqualification was filed against her father, Fernando Poe Jr., when he joined the presidential race in 2004, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision on who will be the next president of the country should be left with the Filipino people.
Senator Poe is facing several disqualification cases because of questions on her citizenship and residency.