By Leslie Ann Aquino
Although Ronald Cardema already filed a notice withdrawing his nomination as first nominee of the Duterte Youth Party-List, the Commission on Elections still has to rule on it.
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon explained that Cardema’s “withdrawal” is not automatic.
“The Commission En Banc has to rule on that @COMELEC. We are not a stamping pad of an over-aged, disqualified pretender,” she said in her Twitter account @commrguanzon.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body will be studying the submission and will, in due time, formally inform the public of its actions, if any.
In his Notice of Withdrawal, Cardema said he is sacrificing himself for the party-list so that the Comelec can already issue a Certificate of Proclamation.
“It is my prayer that this personal sacrifice be accepted and proceed now to the immediate release of the COP (Certificate of Proclamation) of the succeeding nominee of the Duterte Youth Party-list,” the Notice filed at the Comelec Law Department on September 13 read.
Cardema lamented how they are still unable to take their seat in Congress months after the May 13 polls citing the continued public harassment of Guanzon as reason.
“More than 350,000 Filipinos voted and gave their mandate to Duterte Youth party-list last May 2019 and, until now, we are not able to take our duly-proclaimed seat in Congress because of the public harassment towards me by Commissioner Guanzon,” it read.
“It is now public knowledge that the camp of the said commissioner requested and forced favors from us by making us believe we needed her signature in our registration,” it added.
Cardema earlier accused Guanzon of trying to extort money and secure political favors from Duterte Youth in exchange for a favorable decision for the organization which the latter already denied.
Guanzon, meantime, said Cardema should have stated the truth in his notice of withdrawal.
“His ground for withdrawing as nominee is because I harassed him and demanded money and favors. That is not verifiable. He should have stated the truth that he is over 30 years old and therefore disqualified,” she said.
“He stated under Oath (a public document) that I am corrupt. That is libelous. I will not allow him to destroy my good reputation and family name. I will file a suit for damages in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental,” added Guanzon.
The Comelec First Division earlier declared Cardema as ineligible for being over-aged since under the law, a youth sector party-list representative must be between 25 and 30 years old.
The group submitted a new set of nominees to the poll body with Cardema and his wife, Ducielle, as first and second nominees, respectively.
Cardema’s camp also submitted a motion seeking a reversal of the decision of the Comelec First Division.