Puwede pa! Cardema not yet disqualified as possible Duterte Youth nominee, Comelec says



The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Saturday clarified that National Youth Commission chairman Ronald Cardema is not yet disqualified as substitute nominee to represent Duterte Youth party-list group.

The statement came from Comelec Director Frances Arabe after the poll body’s earlier pronouncement that the deadline for substitution of party-list nominees has already lapsed.

Arabe stressed that deadline of substitution of party-list nominees based on theim rules is “on the day of the election” itself and not on November 29, 2018 as per earlier reported.

“The deadline for substitution and withdrawal is on the day of the election. Before the close of voting, so at May 13, at 6 p.m. is the deadline for withdrawal,” said Arabe.

According to Arabe, the Duterte Youth party-list chaired Cardema filed its petition for substitution at the COMELEC Law Department on the eve of Election, May 12 and not May 16.

Arabe noted the situation of the Duterte Youth party-list was not only a simple case of substitution since the group has also withdrawn the nomination of all the five of its nominees, including Cardema’s wife Ducielle Marie Suarez Cardema.

“Di ba may 1-2-3-4-5 nominees yan? If the no.1 withdraws, (the next in line nominee) it would automatically go up. No. 2 will become the first nominee. No. 3 will be no. 2. In the case of Duterte Youth, everyone withdrawn. So nag-withdraw yung lima,” Arabe explained.

Based on the partial and unofficial results from the COMELEC’s transparency server, Duterte Youth already has 346,245 votes based on 86,300 of 87,851 clustered precincts transmitted and currently ranked 21st in the overall tally.

The poll body said Cardema’s action, which happened before in the case of other party-list groups, is allowed under the Partylist Law for as long the new sets of nominees have complied with the requirements.

She said it isn’t the nominee but rather the party-list group that is elected by voters, and every group as the option to pick its nominees.

“It does happen before I think… I was told it does happen all the time. It’s allowed by rules. For as long as he complied with the requirement,” said Director Arabe.

“These are party-list ahh. These are nominees, these are not regular candidates,” said Arabe.

Arabe said the COMELEC en banc is set to decide anytime on the matter.

Meanwhile, it is still unclear whether or not Cardema was already deemed resigned as NYC chair following the petition for substitution filed by Duterte Youth.

Under the Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa 881), “Any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy.”