MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) clarified on Saturday, May 18, that Duterte Youth Chairman Ronald Cardema had met the deadline for substitution of the party list's nominees in the 2019 elections.
Comelec Director Frances Arabe said that upon verification with the poll body’s law department on Friday, May 17, Cardema filed a petition for substitution Sunday, May 12, at 5:30 pm.
“On the petition filed by Ronald Cardema of Duterte Youth, we would like to correct the information given yesterday. The filing for the petition of substitution is dated May 12, 2019. It was filed before election day. Not May 16 as was mentioned yesterday,” Arabe told reporters in a press conference.
Arabe clarified that the November 29, 2018 deadline for substitution due to withdrawal was for senatorial candidates. Party list nominees had up until before the closing of polls on election day to file petitions for substitution due to withdrawal.
The latest statement from the poll body backtracks from what it said Friday, May 17.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez earlier told reporters the period for substitution had already lapsed when reporters asked what the poll body would do about Cardema's petition for substitution reportedly filed days after the May 13 elections.
Arabe said the Commission en banc was currently tackling the petition for substitution and may release a decision on the matter later on Saturday.
Among the issues it needed to tackle was whether or not Cardema resigned from his appointive post as chair of the National Youth Commission (NYC).
While party list nominees move up in rank if one nominee withdraws, Arabe said that in the case of Duterte Youth, all 5 of its nominees withdrew. Asked if others aside from Cardema had filed a petition for substitution, Arabe said while she had not seen the document itself, Cardema was “definitely requesting to be a substitute.”
Cardema previously made headlines for his aggressive campaign against Leftist youth groups as chair of the NYC.