Comelec affirms Cardema ineligible to sit as Duterte Youth representative
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has affirmed an earlier ruling that found Duterte Youth chairman Ronald Cardema ineligible to sit as a youth representative in the House of Representatives—ending his months-long pursuit for a seat in Congress.
The Comelec en banc, in a nine-page resolution promulgated on February 5 but released only on Thursday, affirmed the August 5, 2019 ruling of the Comelec First Division that canceled the nomination of Cardema, who is not a youth, for the youth party.
In the resolution, the en banc also said it decided to accept Cardema’s motion to withdraw his motion for reconsideration (MR) which sought the reversal of his cancellation as the first nominee of the Duterte Youth.
Cardema on September 23, 2019, filed a motion for the withdrawal of his own nomination as the party’s first nominee, pointing at Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon’s “public harassment” against him as the reason for his withdrawal. The two have been in bitter word war as Cardema initially insisted on the validity of his congressional bid.
“Wherefore, premises concerned, the Commission En Banc affirms the Resolution dated 05 August 2019 of the Commission (First Division) and resolves to grant the motion to withdraw (Verified Motion for Reconsideration filed on August 13, 2019). The resolution dated 05 August 2019 of the Commission (First Division) is now final and executory,” the resolution read.
“With the categorical finding that Duterte Youth represents the youth, we find that indeed, Respondent (Cardema) is not eligible to represent the youth sector,” the document added.
The en banc noted that the Party-List Law sets an age requirement for youth representatives at the maximum age of 30 years on the day of the election. Cardema was 34 years old when the May 2019 polls were conducted.
“It is clear as day that Respondent is overage and ineligible,” according to the resolution.
In the same decision, the en banc acknowledged that the Duterte Youth has secured a total of 354,629 votes to be entitled to one seat in the House of Representatives.
“This unnecessary dispute involving a misguided Respondent insisting that he is eligible has resulted in the absence of one youth representation in the House of Representatives,” it said.
With the grant of the withdrawal of Cardema’s MR, the assailed resolution of the Comelec First Division has already attained finality, according to the en banc, noting that it is only proper that Duterte Youth now occupy a seat in the lower chamber.