Oathtaking of Duterte Youth’s Ducielle Cardema questioned
MANILA, Philippines — “Bakit nauna mag-assume ng office kaysa doon sa pag-take oath?”
This was the question posed by election lawyer Emil Marañon on Tuesday night following the oathtaking of Duterte Youth Rep. Ducielle Cardema, saying that the group seems to be in a rush to have a seat in Congress.
During Tuesday’s special session to tackle the proposed national budget for 2021, Cardema was included in the House’s roll call.
Later in the session, Cardema took her oath as the representative of the controversial Duterte Youth Partylist to Congress before Speaker Lord Allan Velasco. This meant that Cardema was included in the roll call even if she has yet to take an oath of office.
“Nagtataka lang kami, bakit nauna mag-assume ng office kaysa doon sa pag-take oath? So parang hindi ba pwedeng mag-antay muna bago mag-assume ng office?” Marañon said in an interview.
“Ang punto dito, simple lang, masyadong nagmamadali yata ang Duterte Youth na umupo sa Kongreso. They breached a basic procedure in administrative law that you take an oath first before assuming office,” he added.
Marañon likewise pointed out that the partylist violated the Revised Penal Code when it prematurely assumed office.
“Unang-una, under Article 236 of the Revised Penal Code, meron tayong crime na tinatawag na anticipation of duties of a public office. In other words parang premature assumption of office,” Marañon said.
“Ang rule diyan is bago ka mag-assume ng isang public office, you have to take an oath of office first, that your loyalty is to the Constitution, is with the Republic. It is mandatory for a public official to take an oath of office,” he added.
But for Marañon, this is only one of the “series of illegalities and unconstitutional acts” that the partylist has committed.
“From the moment they filed their petition to register until now. They seem to cannot even follow very simple rules. Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit feeling nila exempted sila parati sa lahat ng rules, lahat ng batas, even sa pag-take ng oath office,” Marañon said.
Marañon also raised questions over the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) proclamation of Cardema.
The election lawyer explained that it should have been the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), and not the Comelec en banc, that should have proclaimed Cardema.
“We have to make a distinction, it is not actually the Comelec en banc which proclaims a partylist organization, it is actually the [NBOC],” Marañon said.
“Now, we have to take note that the composition of the NBOC and the Comelec en banc is the same however, under the Constitution, they are two different entities. That is why during the NBOC hearing, sinasabi nila na we are convening as the National Board of Canvassers, not as a Comelec en banc,” he added.
Marañon said an “illegal composition” seemingly took place when the Comelec en banc proclaimed Cardema and not the NBOC.
“’Yan yung tawag sa omnibus election code when the body that proclaims a particular candidate is not actually authorized by law because the only authorized body to proclaim a partylist candidate or a winning partylist nominee is actually the NBOC and not the Comelec en banc,” he added. [ac]
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