Philippine Daily Inquirer

Du30: I’d be happy to step down

- By Julie M. Aure­lio @JMAure­lioINQ

Pres­i­dent Duterte said he would be “happy to step down” if the quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion filed against him last week by lawyer Elly Pam­a­tong pros­pered in courts.

In a speech at the Of­fice of the So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral’s 117th an­niver­sary on Tues­day, the Pres­i­dent said he was un­per­turbed by Pam­a­tong’s chal­lenge to his pres­i­dency and the Supreme Court’s di­rec­tive for him to an­swer the quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion.

“If my term is only up to here, I live my destiny. I’m not re­ally (wor­ried) about that ‘Oust Duterte’ thing… For all you know, I would be happy to step down,” Mr. Duterte said.

Pam­a­tong, a peren­nial nui­sance can­di­date for hav­ing run for the pres­i­dency twice and for gov­er­nor of Pam­panga, ac­cused Mr. Duterte of be­ing an il­le­gal Chief Ex­ec­u­tive.

Not qual­i­fied

In his pe­ti­tion, Pam­a­tong told the Supreme Court that Mr. Duterte “won and was elected Pres­i­dent by vot­ers who were not in­formed of the fact that he was not qual­i­fied to run.”

The sus­pended lawyer said Mr. Duterte had usurped the pres­i­dency “in fla­grant vi­o­la­tion of Ar­ti­cle 177 of the Re­vised Pe­nal Code.”

The quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion pointed out a cler­i­cal mis­take in the cer­tifi­cate of can­di­dacy (COC) for Pres­i­dent filed by Mar­tin Diño, a mem­ber of the Par­tido Demokratik­o PilipinoLa­kas ng Bayan.

Sub­sti­tute for Diño

While the first page of Diño’s COC said he was run­ning for Pres­i­dent, the sec­ond page said he was run­ning for mayor of Pasay City, Pam­a­tong said.

But in De­cem­ber 2015, the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions en banc ac­cepted then Davao City Mayor Duterte’s can­di­dacy as a sub­sti­tute for Diño.

Mr. Duterte won the May 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions with over 16 mil­lion votes.

In his speech on Tues­day, the Pres­i­dent dis­missed moves to re­move him from of­fice.

“I have a prob­lem, be­cause I heard the Supreme Court has de­cided on the quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion and I’m also due for ouster… The one filed by Pam­a­tong,” Mr. Duterte said in jest.

“Don’t worry, I’ll just go home (to Davao),” he added.

Mala­cañang, mean­while, in­sisted that Pam­a­tong’s bid to re­move the Pres­i­dent would not suc­ceed as it was not filed be­fore the proper fo­rum.

In a press brief­ing, pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Harry Roque said Pam­a­tong’s quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion should have been lodged be­fore the Pres­i­den­tial Elec­toral Tri­bunal and not be­fore the high court.

“I think it’s a far, far shot. I think it’s not the right venue to be­gin with,” Roque said.

 ??  ?? Ro­drigo Duterte
Ro­drigo Duterte

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