Duterte: It's up to PDP-Laban to substitute me as standard bearer

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Rodrigo Duterte (File photo)

Davao City (CNN Philippines) — Disappointed supporters of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte may again get their hopes up, but not too high.

On Wednesday (October 21), Duterte told CNN Philippines' News.PH that there was still a chance he would change his mind. The decision, however, would have to be made by his party, the PDP-Laban.

He said the party choice of standard bearer gave him a chance to be the substitute candidate for president, which gives the party up to December 10 to decide, because that's the deadline set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The PDP-Laban standard, Martin Diño, chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), corroborated the statement.

But Deputy Director Marlon Casquejo of the Davao Region office of the Comelec said this might not be possible.

Citing Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 9984, he said: "An official candidate of a duly registered political party or Coalition who dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause after the last day for the filing of COCs may be substituted by a candidate belonging to, and nominated by, the same political party or Coalition."

He pointed out that Duterte filed his certificate of candidacy for the mayoralty of Davao City under the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod — not the PDP-Laban.

Casquejo, who is a lawyer, stressed, however, that this was just his personal opinion. The final arbiter of the issue, should it crop up, would be the Legal Department of the Comelec.

He said, though, that it would be a long process if ever Duterte should decide to replace Diño as the PDP-Laban's standard bearer in the 2016 elections.

Even for the filing of COCs started, Duterte had repeatedly refused the heed clamor of his supporters to run for president, saying that the position was not of interest to him.