Comelec gives due course to Cardema bid to sub as Duterte Youth rep

Robie de Guzman   •   June 5, 2019   •   2026

Ronald Cardema

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has given due course to the bid of former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema to substitute as the first nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list group in the 18th Congress.

The Duterte Youth was one of the party-list groups proclaimed as winners in the 2019 midterm elections by the National Board of Canvassers on May 22.

In a resolution released on Tuesday (June 4), Comelec said it has given due course to the nomination of five new nominees as substitutes to the original nominees who backed out of their nominations.

These include Cardema, Gian Carlo Galang, Catherine Santos, Kerwin Pagaran and Sharah Shane Makabali.

In a separate Twitter post, Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon clarified that only Cardema’s plea for substitution was given due course.

“His substitution is not yet granted because there is a pending petition or opposition on the ground that he is over 30 years old and cannot be a rep of a youth sector party-list,” she said.

Guanzon earlier said questioned Cardema’s bid, saying he failed to file the nomination bid on time and did not meet age requirements for a nominee of the youth sector under the Party-list System Act.

READ: Guanzon to oppose Cardema’s substitution as Duterte Youth rep

It can be recalled that Cardema’s last-minute filing of his substitution plea as Duterte Youth first nominee drew widespread criticism due to various issues raised against him.

These include his being older than the age limit for representatives of the youth sector, for filing his bid on a Sunday and for allegedly using the NYC email addresses to send out news releases about the Duterte Youth party.

Chairman Sheriff Abas, Al Parreño, Marlon Casquejo, Socorro Inting, and Antonio Kho, Jr. voted in favor of the resolution; Guanzon dissented while commissioner Luie Tito Guia abstained.

The poll body also said in its resolution that it granted the withdrawals of the party-list’s original nominees: Ducielle Suarez, who is Cardema’s wife; Benilda de Guzman, Arnaldo Villafranca, Joseph de Guzman and Elizabeth Anne Cardema.

The same Comelec resolution showed the reasons for their withdrawal of candidacy: Cardema’s wife backed out because she “could no longer fulfill the expectation set forth by the party; Joseph de Guzman said he wanted to support the group’s stance “away from public opinion”; Benilda de Guzman wanted to pursue her passion for teaching; while Villafranca and Elizabeth Cardema wanted to enjoy privacy and fulfill their obligations with their respective families.

Comelec also directed the Duterte Youth party to publish its revised list of nominees in two newspapers of general nationwide circulation at its own expense and submit proof of publication.

Malacañang, meanwhile, distanced itself from the issue.

“We do not intrude nor interfere into the proceedings of any branch of the government or any constitutional body,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters at a Palace press briefing.

Yulo, Petecio other athletes to meet with Duterte

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 15, 2019

(L-R) Pole vaulter John Ernest Obiena, boxer Eumir Marcial, gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio

Filipino athletes including gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio will meet President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (October 16), according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“They will be meeting with the President. They will have a courtesy call,” Panelo said during the press briefing on Tuesday (October 15).

Yulo has won the gold medal in the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championship while Petecio clinched the gold in the Women’s World Boxing Championship featherweight division.

John Ernest Obiena, the first Filipino to qualify in the 2020 Olympics, will also meet the president. Boxer Eumir Marcial will also join the three athletes in the courtesy call on Wednesday.—AAC

Duterte to review nuclear energy deal with Russian firm

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a review of the nuclear energy agreement with a Russian firm, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

In a statement after the 42nd Cabinet Meeting in Malacañang Friday (October 11) evening, Panelo said the president wants to study the proposal first.

Duterte had previously expressed his sentiment after arriving from Moscow on October 6.

“The Constitution does not (allow it). It is prohibited. That is why I have to talk to the Cabinet,” Duterte said. “The hard-line would come after I have consulted with everybody concerned, including people of the industry affected.”

According to Panelo, Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has clarified that the memorandum signed by the president during his state visit in Russia was only a framework for discussion.

READ: Gatchalian on nuke energy deals: Take extra precautionary measures

“The DOE reiterated that the Memorandum of Intent signed last October 4, 2019, was a framework for discussion and not for a particular construction of a small modular reactor (SMR). The President wanted to study first the proposal,” he said.

Panelo added that Cusi and DOE Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza discussed the proposed nuclear energy deal with a company in Russia.

READ: Duterte returns from Russia with P620M worth of business deals

During his state visit in Russia, Duterte has signed a memorandum of intent with Russia on the exploration of possible cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Gatchalian on nuke energy deals: Take extra precautionary measures

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 8, 2019

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has advised taking extra precautionary measures in entering into nuclear power deals, in relation to the signed nuclear power agreement between the Philippines and Russia.

On Monday (October 7), Gatchalian expressed concern over the said deal since the Constitution does not have enough laws that promote nuclear power in the country.

“Kailangan ng maraming batas, for example nuclear safety. Kailangan din ng batas paano i-transport itong mga nuclear waste, saan itatago iyong nuclear waste. So, we have to be very cautious in moving forward, kulang pa tayo sa framework,” he said.

(We need a lot of laws, for example, on nuclear safety. A law is also needed in transporting nuclear waste and where will the nuclear waste be kept. So, we have to be very cautious in moving forward, we still lack framework.)

The senator also said there is a huge risk in investing in nuclear power plants especially during disasters.

However, Gatchalian said he is still open to studying the use of nuclear power plants in the country.

“Iyong technology for power nagiging mas mura, magiging mas advanced, so pwede natin pag-aralan. But for now ang importante mayroon tayong mga safeguards, batas, nag mag-reregulate nitong nuclear power,” he said.

(The technology for power will be cheaper and affordable. It will also be more advanced, so we should study it. But for now, what’s important is having safeguards, and laws that will regulate nuclear power.)

He also clarified that nuclear energy is allowed in the Constitution but not nuclear weapons.—AAC

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