Supreme Court junks quo warranto petition vs Duterte

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — The Supreme Court (SC) junked the quo warranto petition filed against President Rodrigo Duterte by frequent nuisance bet Elly Pamatong.

In a seven-page ruling released to the media on Wednesday, the SC said Pamatong lacked legal standing to file the bid to nullify Duterte's election as president and that even if he did, he could no longer pursue this move as it had already been more than a year since the President took office.

Pamatong attempted yet again to run for president in 2016, but the Commission on Elections declared him a nuisance candidate.

"There is, therefore, no factual basis for petitioner's assertion of a personal claim to the position of President. He was not even included in the line-up of candidates in the 2016 elections," the SC said in its resolution dated January 22.

Under Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, a person with a claim to a position being contested can file a quo warranto petition to oust a person allegedly unlawfully holding the post within a year of their taking office. Duterte has been in office for nearly three years.

The SC, however, made an exception to this rule in ousting Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice, when it said that the government, which filed the petition against Sereno, is not bound by the one-year prescription period.

"However, this principle does not apply in cases where private individuals, in their own capacity, bring actions for quo warranto before the court to assert their right to the office allegedly usurped," the court said.

The SC no longer touched on Pamatong's argument that Duterte's substitution of then-Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan presidential bet Martin Diño is defective, as the latter filed his candidacy for mayor and not for president.

In a speech in July 2018, Duterte shrugged off the quo warranto petition against him, saying he would be happy to step down if the case prospers.