Five youth groups on Monday filed a petition before the Commission on Elections to block National Youth Commission chairperson Ronald Cardema’s bid to replace a nominee of Duterte Youth party-list which clinched a congressional seat in the May 13 midterm elections.
In the petition, the groups, led by The National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny, UP System, Tindig-University of Santo Tomas Senior High School and Kontra Daya also asked the poll body to junk the 11th hour withdrawal of Duterte Youth party-list’s three nominees for alleged violation of election and Comelec rules.
Comelec spokesperson said the poll en banc had yet to approve Cardema’s bid to be the substitute nominee for the Duterte Youth party-list, saying there are issues being discussed, such as the age and the timing of the withdrawal.
Jimenez said Cardema’s qualification, including his possibly being too old for the position, was something for the commission en banc to consider.
“Cardema’s substitution bid, as well as the attempt of the three nominees of Duterte Youth party-list on May 12, or one day before the midterm elections, is a blatant mockery of law and regulation and the mandate of the Comelec because Cardema—at 33—is unqualified to be a party-list representative for the youth since the party-list requires that a youth sector representative must be aged 25 to 30 years old,” according to the petitioners.
Duterte Youth’s original nominees are Ducielle Marie Suarez, Joseph M. de Guzman and Benilda C. de Guzman and two others.
However, on May 12, a day before the May 13 elections, all five nominees of the group filed their notices of withdrawal and simultaneous with Cardema’s substitution as the party-list nominee.
“Cardema and his cohorts in Duterte Youth Party-List sought to game the party-list elections from the beginning. A review of relevant laws on the qualifications of party-list nominees representing the youth sector would show that substitute nominee Cardema has no qualification to be a nominee, particularly by reason of his age,” the petitioners said.
“Wherefore, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Commission that the withdrawal of the original nominees of Duterte Youth Party-list and the substitution by the new nominees be disapproved or disallowed for being patently violative of existing election laws and Comelec rules and regulations,” the petitioners stated.
In filing for the petition, the groups cited a Supreme Court ruling in the Amores v. HRET and Villanueva case where the high court ruled that since the party-list law is unequivocal in providing that a nominee of the youth sector must not be more than 30 years old on election day, “a cardinal rule in statutory construction is that when the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for construction or interpretation.”
“As the law states in unequivocal terms that a nominee of the youth sector must at least be 25 but not more than 30 years of age on the day of the election, it must be that a candidate who is more than 30 on election day is not qualified to be a youth sector nominee,” the groups said.
The groups believe that Cardema is using his position to influence the Comelec by placing his relatives as nominees of the Duterte Youth party-list. With Nat Mariano