Former National Youth Commission chairman Ronaldo Cardema has withdrawn his nomination as the top nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list to give way to the group’s proclamation as one of the winners in the May 2019 midterm elections.
The Commission on Elections’s First Division disqualified Cardema as a nominee for being overaged, but he appealed the ruling before the commission en banc.
In his motion to withdraw, Cardema said his move would also protect the Duterte Youth group from the continued harassment of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) official, obviously referring to Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.
“Even with our strong faith in the Comelec en banc that it will side with our motion for reconsideration and will protect us now from the harassment of their corrupt colleague, with all humility, I withdraw 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, who we desire to immediately serve,” he said.
The letter, dated September 13, was addressed to Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas and Director Maria Noriana Tangaro Casignal of the poll body’s legal department.
“May this be viewed as a fresh start for the Comelec and the pro-government Duterte Youth Party-list, partnering together towards nation building,” he added.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez on Monday said the commission would study Cardemas’ motion.
“The Comelec will be studying this submission and will, in due time, formally inform the public of its actions, if any, moving forward,” Jimenez said.
Cardema has a long running spat with Guanzon, who strongly opposed his nomination for being overaged.
The poll body’s first division, where Guanzon sits as a member, ruled that Cardema is not eligible for nomination to represent Duterte Youth in the House of
Representatives because he is 34 years old, way beyond the 25 to 30 age limit set by by Republic Act 7941, or the “Partylist System Act,” for nominees of the youth sector.
The Duterte Youth is among 51 party-list groups that won a seat at the House of Representatives.
Records show that the original nominees of the Duterte Youth were Cardema’s wife Elizabeth Ann, Ducielle Marie Suarez, Joseph de Guzman, Benilda de Guzman and Arnaldo Villafranca. All five withdrew their nomination.
With the substitution, Cardema became the top nominee, followed by Gian Carlo Galang, Catherine Santos, Kerwin Pagaran, Sharah Shane Makabali and Allan Keven Cinedoza Payawal.