DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has leapt past his biggest hurdle yet after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has dismissed all the disqualification cases filed against him.
With all four disqualification cases dismissed for lack of merit, there is a brief celebration for the Duterte camp since now they won’t be worrying about any legal barriers on the candidacy. Even Davao City representative Karlo Nograles, whose father has been a rival of the Mayor, expressed his joy over the dismissal of the cases saying that now there is nothing that could stop the campaign of Duterte.
And the dismissal of the DQ cases couldn’t be timelier as the campaign period starts on February 9.
But for Dabawenyos, supporters and the Duterte camp, the dismissal is still far cry from what they have been aspiring for which is to elect the first president from Mindanao to whom they are banking their hopes for a radical change in the country.
Duterte has announced before that he’d only attend presidential debates when all the DQ cases have been settled. We can also observe that prior to the dismissal of the DQ cases, Duterte was only limited to answering criticisms of his rivals by citing assailing information about them.
So as the worries on the DQ cases can now be set aside, Duterte may have just gotten a significant confidence booster and it may be his time to set the tone of the campaign. It may only a matter of time until he challenges other presidential candidates to a debate.
Hence, Duterte as well as his rivals should already prepare for a thorough discussion on their respective platforms.
Perhaps the childish mudslinging could now turn into an intellectual discourse since earlier we had to hear about how Duterte and presidential rival Mar Roxas would like to slap the sense out of each other. The tone of the TV ads from presidential aspirants, which have been bombarding us even before the start of the campaign period, may also change from a condescending tone to a more insightful perspective on how these candidates can serve the country.
Rivals of Duterte might simply turn a blind eye on the dismissal of his DQ cases. But for the camp of Duterte, it is a springboard for their plans during the campaign.
Hopefully, however, they are planning to set a tone where the voting populace is thoroughly informed of their platforms rather than initiating a campaign riddled with black propaganda and character assassinations.