Thorough study, firm decision needed on Cardema case: Guanzon

MANILA � The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said it will scrutinize thoroughly and decide firmly on the case involving former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairperson Ronald Cardema and the Duterte Youth Party-list.

We should decide the Cardema case with clarity and fully addressing the substantive issues because it will be a precedent. Others will follow suit if he succeeds," Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in a television interview Thursday morning.

Someday, it will create more problems for the Comelec and confuse the voters to what really are our rules. Certainly, the Commission en banc will decide on this issue substantively, she added.

At the same time, Guanzon admitted that it is the first time in her term as a poll body official that she encountered a substitution case for party-list with this nature.

Yes, I have been here for four years and this is the first time this issue has come about with such tenacity. Mr. Cardema has been able to hold, in effect, continue to keep this issue alive instead of throwing in the towel for the sake of good sense...but that is his right, she said.

He filed an MR (Motion for Reconsideration) of the Resolution of the First Division. And confused me some more by submitting a new list of nominees with him as first nominee and his wife the second nominee, she added.

Guanzon opined that it is very unlikely that the en banc will reverse the First Division's ruling last August 6, which cancelled the nomination of Cardema to represent his group at the House of Representatives.

They will need four votes to overrule the 1st division's decision. It is going to be difficult in my own analysis because when Duterte Youth applied for accreditation, the second division ruled in a vote of 2-1, denied their petition for registration. And the ground for Cardema's disqualification is an open and shut case: he is overaged. And it is all there in our decision, which is 2-0, she added.

Guanzon was also asked on what she thinks of Cardema still being the first nominee submitted by the partylist group.

Either he is getting very bad advice or he has a strategy I don't know about. So if its on MR and he submitted a new list, to me, I will construe it as having given up his MR. And we will now rely on his submission of new set of nominees.

And the issue there is whether or not they can validly submit a new list of nominees after election day. In my opinion they cannot. Because that is the issue of my lone dissenting vote in the en banc decision granting the application for substitution of May 12 and gave it due course. It was because the deadline was May 13. That resolution means that we are all in agreement that the deadline was May 13, she added.

Guanzon said that the party-list group will not have a nominee once the MR and the new set of nominees is not approved.

They will have no nominee. No one will get to seat. Sayang. What a waste. They could have voted for another party-list, she added.

Guanzon said they expect to issue the ruling probably within a month.

On August 5, a day after the Division canceled his nomination, Cardema submitted a new set of nominees, where he is still the first nominee and his wife, Ducielle, second nominee.

He filed the MR on August 13, asking the First Division to reverse and set aside its earlier ruling. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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