SC junks Pamatong suit vs. PRRD

By Benjamin Pulta

February 13, 2019, 3:48 pm

MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) has denied the quo warranto petition questioning the legality of the assumption of President Rodrigo R. Duterte filed by erstwhile presidential candidate Ely Pamatong in 2018.

In a ruling dated January 22 and released to the media on Wednesday, the tribunal said Pamatong’s cause of action prescribed on June 30, 2017, one year from where Pamatong’s right to hold office, “if at all,” arose on June 30, 2016 when Duterte assumed as the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines.

Pamatong filed his petition on June 6, 2018 two years after Duterte’s inauguration.

“Petitioner’s cause of action, if any, had already lapsed and may no longer be revived,” the Court said, referring to Pamatong’s petition.

The High Court added that Pamatong lacks the legal standing to bring an action for quo warranto.

It noted that under the Rules of Court, only the government may bring such a suit with the exception that an individual may be allowed to file an action for quo warranto when such an individual has an uncontroverted claim to the position from which ouster is sought.

The Court ruled that Pamatong must have been a candidate who ran for president against Duterte during the 2016 national elections and lost to the latter.

However, the Court found that Pamatong’s Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the presidential post in the 2016 elections had been disapproved by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as he was found to be a nuisance candidate. His disqualification was affirmed by the Court with finality on Jan. 12, 2016.

Pamatong first questioned the validity of Duterte’s COC before the Comelec's 1st Division, arguing that the latter’s substitution for Martin B. Diño, who filed with the Comelec his COC for President for the 2016 national and local polls under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) was invalid since Diño was a nuisance candidate.

Duterte originally filed a COC for mayor of Davao City prior to the substitution. (PNA)