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Comelec hopes to proclaim winning Senators, party-list groups on Tuesday

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Winning senatorial bets and party-list organizations in the 2019 midterm elections may likely be proclaimed on Tuesday (May 21), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Monday.

Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez said the poll body, which sits as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), has yet to complete the canvassing of votes as certificates of canvass (COC) from several areas are yet to come in.

Out of the total 167 COCs, the NBOC is still awaiting five COCs from Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States and Abuja in Nigeria.

The COC from Jones in Isabela, where a special election is being held, has also yet to come in.

Comelec conducted a special election for national and local positions in Jones, Isabela after vote-counting machines (VCM) and ballots deployed there were intentionally torched and destroyed during the May 13 polls.

Around 762 registered voters will participate in the special polls.

The poll body said COCs from the said areas cover more than 1.6 million votes.

“I think at this point, it’s a pretty sure bet that we are going to have a proclamation tomorrow,” Jimenez said in a press briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Comelec Director for Education and Information Department Atty. Frances Arabe earlier said the poll body wanted to complete the canvassing of votes before holding a one-day proclamation ceremony.

READ: Proclamation of senators, party-list expected early this week – Comelec

She added that winning party-list groups may be proclaimed in the morning while the senators-elect will be proclaimed in the afternoon.

“The Commission en Banc wants a 100% proclamation. We will try our best to canvass all the COCs so we can only have one event for the proclamation of Senators and the Partylist as well,” Arabe said.

“It will be done in one day but separate schedules. So, party-list will be done in the morning and the proclamation for the Senators in the afternoon,” she added.

Comelec also explained earlier that defective secure digital (SD) cards used in overseas voting have delayed the canvassing of votes by a week.

Arabe said the replacements of corrupted SD cards have to come from their warehouse hub in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

“That’s why it took time because they had to ship the replacement SD cards,” she said.

With the new SD cards, the Comelec office for absentee voting hopes for a smooth transmission of results in order to complete the canvassing of votes.

As of 7:18 p.m. on Sunday, reelectionist senators Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe still topped the Comelec’s partial and official tally, followed by Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, Ronald dela Rosa, Sonny Angara, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Koko Pimentel, Bong Revilla and Nancy Binay.

The NBOC met at 1:42 p.m. on Monday but the canvassing was suspended immediately as there was no COC to canvass.  

The Board is set to resume the canvassing of votes at 7 p.m. later. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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Youth group files petition in Comelec to disqualify Cardema as youth rep

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

Millennials PH, accompanied by Atty. Emil Marañon and Atty. Sixto Brillantes Jr., files petition anew to cancel the substitution bid of ex-NYC Chair Ronald Cardema to become a nominee of Duterte Youth Partylist.

Youth group, Millenials PH, has filed a petition with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to disqualify former National Youth Commission chairperson Ronald Cardema as representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list.

According to Millenials PH, Cardema is already over the age limit to qualify as representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list .

Based on their 17-page petition, Cardema is already 34 years old which is over the set age limit for the party-list representatives of the youth sector which is 25 to 30 years old.

“Makikita na may material misrepresentation talaga na nangyari and ang representation talaga ng Duterte Youth ay youth sector (There really is a material misrepresentation. The representation of the Duterte Youth is the youth sector),” according to Millenials PH Spokesperson Aunell Ross Angcos.

Former Comelec Chairman Atty. Sixto Brillantes Jr., who accompanied the youth group to file the petition said Comelec should withhold Cardema’s certificate of proclamation.

“Dapat matanggal na muna ito at pumalit na ang tunay, iyong legitimate. Kaya kami pumirma rito. Willing kami i-prosecute ito diretso dito sa Comelec hanggang sa Supreme Court kung kailangan (It should be withheld first and should be replaced with the legitimate [representative]. So we signed here. We are willing to prosecute this straight to Comelec up to the Supreme Court if needed),” he said.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon previously said that the Duterte Youth party-list is registered as a youth sector party-list in the 2019 elections.

Meanwhile, Cardema defended that Duterte Youth is registered as a party-list group to uplift the youth and professional sector which has no age limit.

Duterte Youth won one seat in Congress. However, five of the party-list nominees withdrew their nomination, including Cardema’s wife, Ducielle Marie Suarez.

The Comelec poll body is currently conducting a hearing for the petition against Cardema.—AAC (with reports from April Cenedoza)

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Five winners of Senate race file SOCE at Comelec

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – At least five of the 12 winners in the 2019 Senatorial race have filed their Statement of Campaign Expenditures (SOCE) before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, June 13.

Senators Cynthia Villar and Nancy Binay led the filing of the SOCE based on Comelec records.

Villar, who clinched the number one spot with more than 25 million votes, filed her campaign expense report on June 11 or two days before the deadline set by Comelec.

Binay, who finished 12th in the race also filed her SOCE last June 11.

Poe, who nestled at the second spot, submitted her report in the afternoon of June 13, as well as Senators-elect Bong Go and Pia Cayetano, who finished third and fourth in the Senate race, respectively.

Comelec said that most of the winning and losing candidates in the May midterm polls were able to beat the SOCE filing deadline.

Section 14 of Republic Act 1766 requires every candidate and political party to file with the Commission the full, true and itemized Soce within 30 days after the election day.

Also required to file such document are those whose campaigns were self-funded, those who did not incur any expenditure, and those who did not pursue their campaign activities even after filing their candidacies or those who withdrew their candidacies.

The poll body said that based on Comelec resolution 10505, the office of an elected candidate who failed to submit the required documents shall be considered vacant pursuant to Section 11 of the Omnibus Election Code until he/she has complied within six months from the proclamation.

“They cannot assume office until they submitted their Statement of Contribution and Expenditures,” said Atty. Efraim Bag-id, acting director of Comelec campaign finance office.

The poll body emphasized the importance of the filing of SOCE as this will help them determine whether candidates and political parties followed the set campaign spending limits.

The Comelec resolution also states that winning candidates and party-lists with late SOCE filing but still within the period of six months shall be charged with lower administrative fines, depending on the position sought by the candidate.

Losing candidates, meanwhile, who failed to submit their SOCE will be meted out an administrative fine of P10,000.

“Iyong mga kandidato na natalo at hindi nakapagsumite ng kanilang Soce, depende po ito kung first timer po sila o second timer. Kapag first timer, administrative po iyan. Kapag 2 or more na beses na hindi sila nakapag- file ng kanilang SOCE e maliban sa administrative fine, they are perpetually disqualified to hold public office whether elective or appointed position,” Bag-id said.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, 20 candidates for the Senate., 50 party-list groups and three political parties have already filed their Soce.

Comelec said other candidates and political parties may submit their Soce before the campaign finance office until 8 p.m. of June 13. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

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.

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