Guanzon: Despite Cardema’s tenacity, Comelec decision hard to overrule
MANILA, Philippines — Even if Duterte Youth party-list nominee Ronald Cardema refuses to “throw in the towel” over his disqualification, it would be difficult for him to overrule the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
This was the pronouncement of Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon as she pointed out that the grounds of Cardema’s disqualification as the party-list’s nominee is an “open and shut case.”
“This is the first time that these issues have come about. With such tenacity, Mr. Cardema has been able to hold, in effect, continue to keep these issues alive instead of just throwing in the towel for the sake of good sense,” Guanzon said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel aired on Thursday.
The Comelec’s First Division earlier denied the nomination of Cardema to be the party-list representative of the Duterte Youth after committing a misrepresentation on his age upon filing his nomination.
Following the decision, Cardema filed a motion for reconsideration arguing that his case should be handled by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) and not Comelec.
But Guanzon explained that Cardema would need four votes from the commissioners to overrule the decision.
This move would be difficult, Guanzon explained.
“[It] is going to be difficult in my analysis because when Duterte Youth applied for registration, the second division, by a vote of I think 2-to-1, had denied their petition for registration and the ground for disqualifying Cardema is an open and shut case — he’s overage — and it’s all there in our decision that the commission granted them registration as a youth sector party-list,” Guanzon said.
“It was never in their petition that they were applying for registration as young professionals,” she added.
Asked about the party-list group’s move to submit a new set of nominees, with Cardema still being the top nominee, Guanzon said: “Either he is getting very bad advice or he has a strategy that I don’t know about so if it’s on MR [motion for reconsideration] but he submitted a new list, to me, I would construe it to mean that he has given up his motion for reconsideration and will now rely on his submission of his new list.”
Following Cardema’s disqualification as nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list, the group filed a new list of nominees, which again included Cardema as the top nominee.
The list also included his wife, Ducielle Marie (second nominee), as well as Guillermo Villareal Jr. (third nominee), Krizza Reyes (fourth nominee) and Robert Garcia (fifth nominee).
Settling issues on Cardema case
Guanzon underscored the importance for Comelec to decide on the case of Cardema with clarity and finality.
“We should decide the Cardema case with clarity and fully addressing the substantive issues because it will be a precedent, others will follow suits if he succeeds, someday it will create more problems for the Commission on Elections and confuse the voters as to what really are our rules and certainly the commission en banc will decide this issue substantively,” Guanzon said.
The commissioner added the Comelec could possibly settle all issues regarding Cardema within a month.
But by that time, Guanzon said there should be no expectations that there will be a nominee that should get to represent the party-list group in the House.
“In my opinion, no one will get to sit. Sayang. What a waste. They could have voted for another party-list. Those votes could have voted for some other party-list,” Guanzon said. /jpv
See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.