Comelec clarifies Duterte case still up for ruling

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Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday (January 11) dismissed a case filed by University of the Philippines Student Council Chairperson JP Delas Nieves seeking to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte.

Comelec Clerk of the Commission Abigail Lilagan said the case was dismissed after neither Delas Nieves, nor a lawyer to represent him, attended the preliminary conference at 10 a.m. Monday.

Related: Comelec consolidates cases vs. Duterte's presidential run

Lilagan said the Comelec rules that a case for a cancellation of a COC may be dismissed if the petitioner or his counsel fails to attend the preliminary conference.

However, Comelec Senior Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, who heads the division handling Duterte's cases clarified that they have the prerogative to still take up the Delas Nieves case.

Also read: UP student case vs. Duterte COC still up for ruling - Comelec

Duterte was represented by his lawyers Vitaliano Aguirre and Al Argosino.

Other complainants against Duterte, Rizalito David, and Elly Pamatong, were also present.

Another preliminary conference is set for Tuesday at 10 a.m. and a hearing on the merits of the cases will happen at 2 p.m. of the same day.

Delas Nieves argued that Duterte should not be allowed to run for president because he is substituting for Martin Diño who, according to Delas Nieves, is not a legitimate candidate.

Diño withdrew his candidacy after the Comelec legal department filed a petition to declare him a nuisance candidate.

Also read: Duterte reveals platform of government

Delas Nieves accused Duterte of a misrepresentation in his COC by claiming that he will uphold the Constitution.

He explained that Duterte's open admission of ordering summary executions shows that the latter does not honor the Constitution.