By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has approved the withdrawal of the previous nominees of the Duterte Youth Party-list in connection with the May 13 midterm polls.
It also recognized the substitute nominees of the group which include Ronald Cardema’s wife, Ducielle.
“The Commission, after due deliberation, resolves to approve the withdrawal of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th nominees of the Duterte Youth party-list as acceptance of the withdrawal is merely ministerial and same having been executed in due form,” said the Comelec said in Minute Resolution No. 19-0849 dated August 28.
“…To recognize the following as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th new nominees of the said party-list as practically the list of nominees is exhausted in view of the withdrawal of the above nominees,” it read.
To recall, the poll body earlier gave due course to the nomination to the following new nominees as substitutes of the Duterte Youth Partylist namely; Ronald Cardema, Gian Carlo Galang, Catherine Santos, Kerwin Pagaran, and Sharah Shane Makabali.
However, the 2nd to 5th nominees personally submitted their respective Notices of Withdrawal in July.
On August 6, Duterte Youth filed a new set of substitute nominees with Ronald Cardema still as first nominee, followed by Ducielle Marie Cardema, Guillermo Villareal Jr, Krizza Reyes, and Robert Garcia.
In another resolution, the en banc denied the letter of poll lawyers Sixto Brillantes and Emil Maranon opposing the withdrawal and substitution of Duterte Youth as it did not agree with the lawyers’ claim that allowing the “illegal withdrawal and substitution” of Duterte Youth is tantamount to a mockery of the law.
“(The law) recognizes the submission of additional nominees once the list is exhausted. To rule otherwise would result to an absurdity not contemplated by law,” read Minute Resolution No. 19-0850.
Cardema already filed his Notice of Withdrawal last September 16.
The Comelec en banc already summoned Cardema to attend a hearing this Wednesday to explain his withdrawal.
The former National Youth Commission chair was earlier declared ineligible by the Comelec First Division for being overaged. Cardema’s motion for reconsideration is still pending.