Anti-poll fraud watchdog says Comelec execs in proclamation of 30-yr-old as youth House nominee face day of reckoning
MANILA, Philippines—Poll watchdog Kontra Daya said officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may be held accountable for enabling the proclamation of 30-year-old Ducielle Cardema as a nominee of the party list group Duterte Youth, which seeks a seat for the youth sector in the House of Representatives.
Ducielle is wife of the group’s chair, Ronald, who is chair of the group Kabataan for Bongbong Movement, which supports former senator and defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Prof. Danilo Arao, Kontra Daya convenor, said Comelec officials who allowed Ducielle’s proclamation as nominee of the supposedly youth group could face impeachment.
“Comelec will be accountable for doing the unconstitutional as it is unconscionable and illogical,” said Arao.
“We believe that impeachment of the commissioners who favor the Duterte Youth’s proclamation is an option,” he added.
Arao said Kontra Daya agreed with Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, who opposed her colleagues’ decision to proclaim Ducielle as youth sector representative, saying the move was a “betrayal of the Constitution.”
Of the five Comelec commissioners, only Guanzon dissented from the proclamation. Comelec Chair Sheriff Abas and Commissioners Socorro Inting, Marlon Casquejo and Antonio Kho all voted in favor of the pro-Duterte party-list group.
“Kontra Daya maintains that granting a certificate of proclamation to Duterte Youth is continuing proof of the bastardization of the party-list system by the rich and powerful,” said Arao.
“For the first time in the history of the party-list system, an unregistered group will become part of the House of Representatives. This should be challenged in the courts of law and public opinion,” he added.
Beyond the legal arena, Arao said that the poll body’s move puts into question the credibility of the May 2022 elections as Guanzon’s term expires in February 2022 and the Comelec is left with commissioners who are all appointed by Duterte.
Guanzon, in her eight-page dissenting opinion, said the certificate of proclamation should be issued only “when there is no more legal impediment for its issuance, or when there is no longer any ground to suspend the proclamation.”
There are currently two cases against the Cardemas and Duterte Youth. One seeks the cancellation of the party list’s registration for failure to comply with constitutional and statutory publication requirements, while the other wants Ducielle disqualified for alleged failure to comply with election laws.
“The issues pose a prejudicial question to the proclamation of Duterte Youth and Ducielle Cardema as the nominee of Duterte Youth,” Guanzon said.
“Thus, in the interest of orderly administration of justice, the commission en banc must await the final resolution of the said petitions before acting on the request to issue the certificate of proclamation,” Guanzon said.
“The cancellation of Duterte Youth’s registration and Ducielle Cardema’s disqualification as nominee are constitutional and threshold matters that must be settled first before a certificate of proclamation is issued,” she added.
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