Duterte Youth questions before SC Guanzon’s party-list substitution
MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte Youth Party-List on Tuesday questioned before the Supreme Court the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) decision allowing the substitution of its former Commissioner Rowena Guanzon as P3WD nominee.
In the petition, they stated that as a former Comelec Commissioner, Guanzon was one of those who approved of the P3WD party-list to participate in the May 9, 2022 elections.
The party-list won and garnered enough votes to occupy one seat in Congress. On June 14, 2022, all the original nominees submitted to the Comelec their resignation/withdrawal from the organization. On that same day, nominees’ and acceptance certificates were submitted with Guanzon as the first nominee.
In a petition to the Supreme Court filed by Duterte Youth Rep. Marie Cardema and chairman Carlo Cardema, they urged that the SC issue a temporary restraining order against Comelec to prevent it from issuing a certificate of proclamation to the substituting nominees.
Petitioners said a restraining order should also be issued, urging the House of Representatives to allow Guanzon to sit as one of its members.
Petitioners, through their counsel Atty. Ferdinand Topacio said Comelec disregarded its own rules on party-list substitution since it was made after the elections.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 9366 promulgated in 2012 and amended by Resolution No. 10690 on January 27, 2021, the withdrawal of nominations and substitution of nominees due to withdrawal shall be made no later than November 15, 2021.
“In this case, it is clear that the submission of resignation and withdrawal by the original nominees and certificates of nomination and acceptance of nomination of P3PWD’s new set of nominees on June 14, 2022 is in violation of the deadline set by the Commission’s own promulgated Resolution No. 9366, as amended by Resolution No. 10690,” the petitioners said.
They pointed out that even if the reason for substitution was due to incapacity or death, it is still not allowed because under Section 5, Rule 4 of Comelec Resolution No. 9366 by Resolution No. 10690, as amended, substitution due to death or incapacity can only be done until mid-day of election day.
Petitioners added that there was also a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees, most especially by substituting Guanzon, who served as Comelec Commissioner from 2015 until February 2, 2022.
“Comelec is a constitutional body composed of 7 (seven) en banc members, the voting 3-1 is not only questionable, the voting violated their own promulgated rules on substitution deadlines and will give due course also to the violation of our own two legal hallmarks against graft and corruption abuses of public offices,” the petition read.
“Guanzon was just a public official/commissioner of the Comelec, less than 5 months ago and the Comelec is a collegial body meaning the entire body, including Guanzon, approved the inclusion in the ballot and participation in the 2022 elections of around 170 party-lists, including the P3PWD Party-List which she will have material benefit in if given due course to substitute now,” it added.
Petitioners added that there was also grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it approved the resolution.
They said that Comelec hastily approved the substitution “one day after the petition was filed by their former colleague, the Comelec exercised its power in an arbitrary or despotic manner so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty to enforce and administer election laws.”
They added that Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System requires that the list of nominees should be submitted before the elections to allow the electorate to assess which party-list organization to elect.
“In fact, it is obvious that the 5 original nominees of P3PWD were mere placeholders for Guanzon under whose term as Commissioner of Comelec the registration of P3PWD was approved,” the petitioners said.
“Clearly, what was done by P3PWD was a grand deception designed to accommodate Guanzon even if it means betrayal of electorate’s trust and shameless mockery of the law and circumvention of the Party-List System,” the petitioners said.
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