Petitioners, top poll lawyers: Cardema claim legally flawed
MANILA, Philippines — The claim of former National Youth Commission Chair Ronald Cardema that he represents the young professional sector in the Duterte Youth, in a bid to exempt himself from the age requirement as a nominee of the party list, is legally unacceptable.
This was the basis of a new petition filed on Monday in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to cancel Cardema’s nomination as the party list’s first nominee and suspend his certificate of proclamation.
The petition, filed by Aunell Ross Angcos, Cyra Aurelio and Hannah Navarroza, was endorsed by veteran election lawyers Sixto Brillantes, the former Comelec chair, and Romulo Macalintal.
Several other petitions had earlier been filed contesting Cardema’s bid to become the first substitute nominee of Duterte Youth for being overaged.
In last week’s hearing on one of the petitions, Cardema claimed that he was qualified to represent the party list because he represented its young professionals’ sector.
Republic Act No. 7941
The latest petition against Cardema cited Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7941.
It stated that “any elected party list representative, who changes his political party or sectoral affiliation during his term of office shall forfeit his seat, provided, that if he changes his political party or sectoral affiliation within six months before an election, he shall not be eligible for nomination as party list representative under his new party or organization.”
6 months before election
The petitioners argued that a nominee who changed his sectoral affiliation within the same party would “only be eligible for nomination under the new sectoral affiliation if the change has been effected at least six months before the elections.”
Even assuming that Duterte Youth is a party list group representing both the youth and professional sectors, the petitioners said, Cardema “should not be allowed to abandon the youth sector and ‘jump ship’ to the professional sector to exempt himself from the age requirement.”
Cardema’s “belated and sudden change of affiliation from ‘youth’ to ‘professional’ cannot be allowed for having failed to comply” with the law’s six-month rule, they added.
The petitioners also insisted that Duterte Youth was a youth sector group, based on its petition for registration with the Comelec as well as on the public announcements of its officials.
Brillantes said Cardema failed to meet the basic requirement as a representative of a youth party list.
“It’s clear that the respondent is no longer young,” Brillantes said.
“When you say young, [that is] 30 and below. That’s why I signed this petition so the Comelec could see that there was really a problem in his substitution bid,” he added.
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