Comelec cancels Cardema’s Duterte Youth nomination

The First Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has canceled the nomination of former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema as representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list group.

“We are happy to announce that the Comelec First Division has granted our consolidated petitions seeking the cancellation of the nomination of Ronald Gian Cardema as the First Nominee of the Duterte Youth Party-List,” said lawyer Emil Marañon III, legal counsel for the petitioners, in a statement on Monday.

Voting 2-0, the three-member First Division ruled to deny the move of Cardema to represent the organization composed of Filipino youths in the House of Representatives.

“With the vote of 2-0, the First Division ruled that Respondent Ronald Gian L. Cardema is not eligible for nomination to represent Duterte Youth in the House of Representatives,” Marañon said.

Commissioners Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon and Marlon Casquejo voted to cancel the nomination while presiding Commissioner Al Parreño was on official business.

Under Sec. 9 of Republic Act No. 7941, a candidate who is more than 30 years old on election day is not qualified to be a party-list nominee of the youth sector. Cardema himself has admitted that he is already 34 years old.

“For having been found ineligible, the overage Cardema will not be issued a Certificate of Proclamation by Comelec and, consequently, cannot sit as Member of the House of Representatives,” Marañon said.

“Hopefully, this decision will be the first step towards the reform of the party-list system, that is, to bring it back it to the truly marginalized and underrepresented sectors,” he added.

Marañon, likewise, expressed gratitude to the petitioners, as well as to his collaborating counsels.

“We would like to thank the “real”youth who passionately pursued this case, namely: Aunell Ross Angcos, Cyra Aurelio, Hannah Navarroza, Raainah Punzalan, Raoul Daniel Manuel and Sabrine Janer. My collaborating counsels for the two cases are Sixto Brillantes, Jr., Romulo Macalintal and Kristian Jacob Lora,” he added.

The case against Cardema stemmed from the two petitions filed before the poll body questioning the substitution of the party-list’s first nominee. Cardema replaced his wife, Ducielle Marie Suarez.

The first petition was filed by Raoul Danniel Manuel of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, Paula Sabrine Janer of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, and Raainah Punzalan of the Youth Act Now Against Tyranny; while the second group of petitioners is composed of Aunell Ross Angcos, Cyra Aurelio, and Hannah Navarroza. PNA