Diño’s CoC still subject to clarification -- Comelec

Posted on December 19, 2015

THE First Division of the Commission on Elections has asked both parties in the case questioning the presidential certificate of candidacy (CoC) of crime watchdog Martin B. Diño to submit their respective positions on the matter.

To recall, Mr. Diño, a Quezon City barangay captain and member of the non-government Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), filed a CoC for the presidential race, only to withdraw his bid and name Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte as substitute.

Broadcaster Ruben Castor, however, challenged this before the Comelec.

Last Thursday, the Comelec en banc decided to accept Mr. Duterte’s CoC for the presidential race. But Comelec chairman Andres D. Bautista said the agency’s decision is without prejudice to the petition to cancel Mr. Duterte’s presidential candidacy.

During yesterday’s hearing, First Division presiding officer Robert S. Lim said Messrs. Diño and Castor have been ordered to submit their respective positions on two points: one, whether the case demands the exercise of the Comelec’s administrative or judicial function in inspecting the validity of Mr. Diño’s CoC; and two, the nullity of that CoC.

In his petition, Mr. Castor questioned the validity of Diño’s CoC, which indicated that he was seeking the mayoralty of Pasay City.

During yesterday’s hearing, his legal counsel however presented a Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) to ascertain that the Partido Demokratiko Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) did choose Mr. Diño as its presidential bet, insisting that the CONA is “a piece and parcel” of the CoC.

Mr. Diño’s legal counsel admitted that he committed an “innocuous” mistake in not having previewed the CoC for any typographical error.

Comelec commissioner Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon said while it was a “reasonable expectation” for Mr. Diño to have read the CoC before signing it, there may yet be an explanation for the error.

“In their memorandum, they’re going to explain the factual matter or background on how they signed [the CoC]. They should explain that. He might have a valid explanation there,” Ms. Guanzon said.

“Let’s just wait for the memorandum because the lawyers are good, they can handle it,” she also said in Filipino.

Both parties to the case were given no more than 10 days from the day of the preliminary conference to submit their positions, but the deadline was extended to Dec. 28 because the original timetable would fall on a holiday.

Vitaliano S. Aguirre II, Mr. Duterte’s legal counsel, said Mr. Castor’s petition concerns Mr. Diño and not the Davao City mayor. -- Janina C. Lim