ILOILO CITY – Filipinos have a myriad of maddening ways of selecting their individual choices for President, or any other candidate for elected office for that matter. Most stop at whoever is popular (in election-speak, name recall). Next is sino ang kakilala ko or kakilala ng kakilala ko or kakilala ng kakilala ng kakilala ko….you get the point. Then there is the choice based on the physical and non-physical attributes of a candidate like sino ang guwapo or maganda, sino ang mukhang mabait and so on.
Once a choice has been made, any criticism of that choice is taken as a personal attack on oneself. We become defensive and the initial response can be any of a number of ways rationalizing one’s choice. And when it happens that all manner of rationalization doesn’t work and are overwhelmed by the superior argument of another, the position hardens instead of succumbing to reason and logic. The hope is that we get the last word when our candidate hopefully wins and we can tell that other person – “O? Ano napala mo? Talo naman kandidato mo? Hehehe…”.
Of course, I generalize and not everyone is like that. I would venture to say, however, that a significant number, if not a majority, of the 50 or so million Filipino voters are just like that. That – is a sad state of things.
As with anything – the first step in making a choice is to know what or who I am choosing from. In this case, who are my choices for President.
My own personal conviction and principles lead me to recognize just 3 legitimate candidates – Jejomar C. Binay, Manuel A. Roxas II and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
Rodrigo A. Duterte
On February 3, 2016, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) dismissed the disqualification cases against Mr. Duterte. These cases were anchored on the argument that his becoming a candidate was defective.
Martin Dino filed his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) on the last day of the filing of CoCs on October 16, 2015. His CoC indicated he was running “for the position of MAYOR, City/Municipality of PASAY CITY…” A closer of examination of his CoC, which is typewritten (as opposed to being handwritten) raise a lot of questions among which is – did he submit the right form for whatever office he was running? It certainly looks different in format from the other candidates’ CoCs. Mr. Dino signed the CoC which contains the phrase, “I hereby certify that the facts stated herein are true and correct…” and this document was notarized.
On October 29, 2015, Martin Dino withdrew his candidacy for whatever position he was running for and soon after the PDP-Laban enacts a resolution nominating Mr. Duterte as the replacement of Mr. Dino for whatever position Mr. Dino was running for. After hemming and hawing, Mr. Duterte accepts the nomination on November 21. His stated reason for running for President was that he did not want “an American President” referring to the proceedings at the Senate Electoral Committee which had just dismissed a petition questioning the citizenship of Senator Grace Llamanzares.
On December 17, 2015, accepts Mr. Duterte’s CoC for President as substitute for Mr. Dino. Less than two months later, on February 3, 2015, the COMELEC’s First Division “…ruled to deny all petitions against Mayor Rodrigo Duterte” for lack of merit. Among other things, the COMELEC’s First Division said that Mr. Dino had filed a valid CoC.
Section 4, Rule II of Resolution No. 9984 issued by the COMELEC on August 18, 2015 specifies the “Contents and Form of Certificate of Candidacy”. The first item required is the “office aspired for”. The same Section also indicates the forms for various positions including the one for President which is labeled as Annex F.
The rules are very clear. I cannot, in good conscience, agree with the ruling of the COMELEC’s First Division which allows Mr. Duterte to run for President. This ruling runs counter to its own rules as specified in Resolution No. 9984. It is clear that Mr. Dino did not submit the right form for the CoC. From that point on, his candidacy for whatever position he was running for, particularly for President is invalid. Yes, it is a technicality and an administrative mistake. Taken by itself, it probably is something many can ignore but I will not, for we Filipinos have to learn to follow rules. There can and should be no compromises on this case. I’ve had enough of shortcuts which lead us to nowhere. Accepting Mr. Duterte as a Presidential candidate under these circumstances is just something that I cannot do.