Disqualified Duterte Youth Party-list nominee Ronald Cardema has formally withdrawn his nomination to let the Commission on Elections declare the party-list as one of the winners in the May 2019 polls, saying his move was a “personal sacrifice.”
Cardema had been disqualified as a nominee of the Duterte Youth Party-list group for being overage.
The COMELEC received the notice of withdrawal of the former National Youth Commission chairman on Sept. 13, 2019, citing the alleged “public harassment” of COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon as the reason behind his withdrawal.
Cardema said his withdrawal was meant to protect the Duterte Youth Party-list, which earned a seat in Congress in the May 2019 elections.
“With all humility I withdraw from my nomination to sacrifice myself for our party-list so that the COMELEC can immediately release the Certificate of Proclamation of the COMELEC-approved succeeding nominee and to give justice to the votes of 350,000 Filipinos whom we desire to immediately serve with their needed medical assistance, requested patriotic projects and activities for nation-building,” Cardema said.
However, COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon called Cardema “stupid” for pinning the blame on her.
Cardema described his move as a sacrifice that had to be done for nation-building, even as he continued to accuse Guanzon of bullying him.
“It is my prayer that this personal sacrifice be accepted. May this be viewed as a fresh start for the COMELEC and the pro-government Duterte Youth party-list, partnering towards nation-building,” Cardema’s withdrawal letter said.
The COMELEC’s First Division, of which Guanzon is a member, denied Cardema’s nomination for being beyond the age limit set by the law on party-list representatives for the youth sector.
Cardema, who was already 34 years old, was disqualified under the party-list law because a representative of a Party-list group representing the youth sector should be between 25 and 30 years old on election day.
When Cardema was disqualified, he accused Guanzon of asking P2 million from his camp in exchange for the approval of Duterte Youth party-list’s accreditation.
But Guanzon who has been vocal against Cardema’s nomination denied Cardema’s bribery claims and accused him of threatening her.