Duterte, the COMELEC and the church

The crowd anticipated for it. They longed for his sweet “yes” and he did it albeit late. Nonetheless, the legion of fans that surrounds the famed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte got what they wished for. 

The PDP-Laban party formally launched the Duterte-Cayetano 2016 yesterday, November 30 despite of the pending issues that Duterte is yet to conquer regarding with the legality of his move to substitute the party’s original contender for president, Martin Diño.

Digong, the COMELEC and the church

From ‘the Punisher’ turned ‘the Pabebe’?

He gave a very constant “no” but not until the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) affirmed the validity of Senator Grace Poe’s candidacy for president. Right after that, Duterte slammed the SET decision and hinted that he will finally run for the highest post of this land. But his detractors are exclaiming, is it really worth it? Is Duterte’s statement on the decision of SET regarding Poe’s disqualification case weighed more to him than all the rallies, social media clamor and even the act of his children and a number of supporters of shaving their heads for Duterte to finally throw his hat on the ring? His critics seized the opportunity and branded him as a “political pabebe” pertaining to the way he confused the public on his real political plans that irked some of the voters who could have voted for him.

Duterte slapped with first disqualification case, COMELEC remains silent

Duterte was given several months to announce his presidential bid up to the last day of the filing of Certificate of Candidcay (COC) at the COMELEC last October 16, but he refused to do so. While his supporters remained hopeful on the possibility of substituting for another candidate which is in the name of Diño, their bet, however, was as stiff as rock on his previous interviews that he isn’t ecstatic going head on head with the first four presidential candidates. Now the mayor is yet to face the first disqualification case filed against him by broadcaster Ruben Castor right after his announcement that he will finally run.

Election experts weighs on Duterte’s substitution over Diño

Duterte’s ‘pabebe’ move ignited the debate on the legality of his presidential campaign among election pundits. For Atty. Romulo Macalintal, Duterte cannot substitute for Diño as the latter’s withdrawal of COC is not the issue but the error that he made upon filing his candidacy. Diño was reported to file for a Pasay City mayoralty candidacy and NOT as a presidential aspirant. In this case, Macalintal added that Diño made himself as a nuisance candidate and that by using common sense, a COC of a nuisance candidate cannot be considered valid at all. On the Other hand, former COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes approves of PDP-Laban fielding Duterte instead of Diño saying that the mistake made by the candidate should not impede the desire of the party to achieve its cause.

CBCP slams Duterte for ‘cursing’ Pope Francis, Enrile

It was during Duterte’s proclamation event last Monday prepared by the party wherein he
pronounced the stong, one-liner statement “Gusto kong tawagan, ‘Pope p*tang ina ka, umuwi
ka na. ‘Wag ka nang magbisita dito. (Pope, you son of a b*tch, go home. Don’t visit here
anymore.)” That reflected his opinion on road closures that caused heavy traffic during Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines last January.

As expected, the profanity uttered by the mayor on his speech against the supreme pontiff was met with harsh criticisms and undesirable reactions by catholic faith believers, who comprise the majority of the voting population in the country. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) through Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas addressed the issue, partly giving advice and warning to the voters, “When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame. My countrymen have gone to the dregs.” Meanwhile, Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile, defended Duterte saying that the mayor is just ‘challenging the roughness and smoothness of Philippine society’ and that it is up to the people to judge him.

Will PDP-Laban be successful in ‘brewing’ a President Duterte for 2016?

Either everything that happened over the past months were staged or not, it achieved its intended purpose. Aside from his no nonsense statements, Duterte has now bested Binay and Poe in terms of mainstream media mileage. Santiago will probably maintain the social media citizenry on her side until May 2016 while Roxas and his allies will now have a hard time pleasing the public with the possible entry of another crowd favorite as it was reported that some LP allies from Mindanao had just jumped to support Duterte. Despite his harsh statements, unabashed admission of being a womanizer, as a punisher for scalawags and as a best friend of the communists, Duterte maintained a mixture of his pragmatic yet mysterious character which excites the public.

We ain’t seen anything yet. The journey to Malacañan is yet to intensify and by mid-half of the first quarter next year that we will finally get a glimpse of what kind of presidency the Philippines is yet to experience. Will it be a Duterte-like? As of the moment, the chances are high of course. The PDP-Laban is now at its best position to place the next president coming from their own group. Duterte will make history if ever he succeeds as he will be the first Mindanaoan president that the country will ever have and that concept alone of having him ascending the stairs of the Malacañan palace mirrors the possibility of making Mindanao peacefully stable and competitively at par with the other regions of the country.

Stay-tuned for the upcoming editorials with other presidential candidates in the coming weeks. 

- Michael Santiago, TheSummitExpress

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