Can ruling be reversed? Groups urge vigilance over Cardema's party list nomination

MANILA, Philippines – Election watchdogs and groups hailed the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) first division cancelling Duterte Youth chairman Ronald Cardema’s party list nomination, but urged the public to remain vigilant should the Comelec en banc reconsider the matter.

The Comelec First Division on Monday, August 5, decided to cancel Cardema’s nomination as the party-list representative of Duterte Youth in the 18th Congress. It’s a setback for Cardema whose congressional bid drew wide criticism across the political spectrum, but he can still file a motion for reconsideration with the Comelec en banc.

Akbayan Youth urged the poll body’s en banc to uphold the first division's decision.

"Cardema is cancelled! This decision affirms the youth's stance that he cannot represent young Filipinos in Congress. However, we remain vigilant about the developments in the Cardema petition because the Comelec en banc previously showed its soft spot for Duterte Youth," Akbayan Youth secretary-general Justine Balane said in a statement Monday.

Before the first division cancelled Cardema’s nomination, majority of the 7-member Comelec en banc on June 4 decided to give due course to Cardema’s earlier substitution bid, saying the party met the deadline for filing substitutes. This, despite it being filed past office hours on a weekend, a day before Election Day.  (READ: Comelec's Guanzon dissents, says Cardema bid mocks democracy)

In a statement Monday, election watchdog Kontra Daya said the public should remain vigilant as Cardema may still appeal the first division’s decision.

The Comelec first decision decided to cancel Cardema’s nomination as Duterte Youth’s first nominee after he did not meet qualifications to sit as youth representative.

Under the Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act, representatives of the youth sector must be at least 25 years old, but not more than 30 years old on Election Day. Cardema is 34 years old.

With the Comelec first division’s decision, Cardema will not be issued a certificate of proclamation by Comelec and will not be able to sit as representative in the Lower House. Duterte Youth took one seat in the 2019 elections. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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