DAVAO CITY – The Commission on Elections ruled on Thursday to accept the certificate of candidacy for president of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

The Comelec voted 6-1 “to acknowledge and accept the certificate of candidacy for president of Duterte.”

In a press conference, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said the decision is “entirely without prejudice” to the pending disqualification case or any other case that may be filed against the mayor.

Duterte substituted Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) presidential candidate Martin Diño who withdrew his COC for president on October 29.

Bautista said Duterte’s name will be included in the list of presidential candidates.

Davao City’s first district representative and re-electionist Karlo Nograles said the Comelec’s decision“gives confidence to the voters that Comelec is not involved in any shenanigans or operations called “Last Man Standing” or any of that sort.”

“It has always been our position that all qualified Presidential candidates must be given the opportunity to run in the election and no voter be disenfranchised from selecting his favored candidate by over stretching technicalities and disqualifying opponents,” said Nograles in a statement.

“With this decision we can now move on with the campaign proper and concentrate on getting Mayor Rody Duterte’s message across – that there can be no true development for our country if we do not have total peace and order,” added Nograles.

A senatorial bet from the progressive bloc also welcomed the Comelec decision.

Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares in a statement said the Comelec’s decision “would allow more choices for the presidency”.

However, Colmenares said they also hope the Comelec would allow Senator Grace Poe to run as president.

“I just hope that the Comelec would also allow Sen. Grace Poe to run as president so that the Filipino people would be the judge of who they want to be president in the elections next year. Patakbuhin na nila pareho si Grace at Duterte (They should let Grace and Duterte run),” said Colmenares. (davaotoday.com)

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