Not yet proclaimed, Duterte Youth uses House seal to represent itself
MANILA, Philippines – Party-list group Duterte Youth has yet to take a seat in Congress, yet it is already using the House of Representatives seal to represent itself.
A photo obtained by Rappler showed Duterte Youth used the House seal when it submitted its list of new substitute nominees to various broadsheets for publication – a requirement under the rules of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rules.
This came after the poll body approved the group's new substitute nominees, despite its filing past the deadline before the close of polls on election day.
The letter to media outlets was signed by party chair Ronald Cardema and listed his wife as Duterte Youth’s second nominee. The 3rd to 5th nominees it listed were Guillermo Villareal Jr, Krizza Reyes, and Robert Garcia. (READ: Guanzon: Travesty to allow new Duterte Youth substitutes)
Is this allowed? According to a House official, there are no governing rules regarding the use of the House seal.
“No governing rules, unfortunately. Congressmen use their own letterheads and they can use the House seal. The House Secretariat has a standard letterhead, but only based on custom,” the official said.
Still, Duterte Youth’s use of the House seal is a misrepresentation, considering that the Comelec has yet to issue the group's certificate of proclamation, which is a requirement for a nominee to assume a seat in the House.
Party in limbo: Since the original filing of Duterte Youth’s substitute nominees a day before Election Day on May 12, 2019, the party and its chair Cardema have been the subject of several petitions before the Comelec.
These include petitions to cancel Cardema’s nomination and oppositions agains the filing of Duterte Youth’s second set of nominees. The party also faces a petition seeking to declare its registration as either void ab initio (from the beginning) or cancelled. (READ: Stretching the rules: Duterte Youth's bid for Congress)
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon earlier said the poll body decided to hold off on issuing Duterte Youth a certificate of proclamation as they had yet to rule on petitions involving the party and its nominees.
As it stands, the Comelec has yet to decide Cardema's motion to withdraw his nomination, his motion for reconsideration asking the commission en banc to reverse his cancelled nomination, and his latest motion to withdraw this motion for reconsideration.
Based on the number of votes it garnered in the 2019 elections, Duterte Youth is entitled to one seat in the House of Representatives, but a nominee from the organization has yet to be proclaimed.
Prior to this, Cardema also misrepresented himself when he listed in his Facebook page that his occupation was that of a congressman ahead of the proclamation of winning party-list groups in the 2019 elections. – with a report from Mara Cepeda/Rappler.com