Ex-NYC Chair Cardema to face raps for violation of Omnibus Election Code

Maris Federez   •   May 23, 2019   •   2028

An election lawyer believes that former National Youth Commission (NYC) Chairman Ronald Cardema may possibly face charges for violating the Omnibus Election Code.

Cardema has allegedly used government resources in campaigning for the Duterte Youth Party-list.

The controversy started when Cardema abandoned his position when he filed a petition for substitution before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as the first nominee of the said party-list group on May 12 without seeking permission from the Office of the President or from the President himself.

Cardema reportedly filed the petition after the five nominees of the said party-list, including the Cardema’s wife, Ducielle Marie Suarez, withdrew from the nomination.

Election lawyer, Atty. Emilio Maranon III, said that once a government official files a certificate of substitution, he will be considered resigned from post.

“Yung fact na while under the law, it’s already deemed resigned, hindi pa po siya nag-resign. Parang, he’s trying to circumvent po ‘yung nakalagay doon sa batas. Kapag napatunayan na ginamit ‘yung pondo ng gobyerno or gamit ng gobyerno, sasakyan ng gobyerno, or kanyang posisyon sa pangangampanya e ito po ay pwedeng magamit laban sa kanya [The fact that while under the law, (he’s) already deemed resigned, but he stayed in office. It seems like he’s trying to circumvent what the law states. Once it’s proven that government fund, or equipment, or vehicle, or position was used in campaigning, it can be used against him],” said Maranon.

Duterte Youth won in the Midterm elections.

It was found out, however, that it was only on May 17 when Cardema resigned from his post.

Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code states government officials are barred from joining any partisan political activities.

Whoever violates this will be meted out one to six months suspension for first offense, and dismissal from service for second offense.

Meanwhile, in her twitter post, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon questioned Cardema’s substitution, pointing out that he is already over-aged to be a nominee of the youth party-list group.

“In the Certificate of Candidacy form of Cardema, he stated that he is qualified. But is he not over 30 years old? Duterte Youth registered as a youth sector party list,” said Guanzon’s tweet.

Cardema’s Facebook account, however, stated that he was born on April 13, 1986.

Section 9 of Republic Act 7941 or the Partylist Law provides that a nominee of a youth party-list group must be between 25 to 30 years old.

On his FB post, Cardema insisted that Duterte Youth is registered in Comelec as one to represent the youth and professional sectors; hence, there is no age limit.

The Comelec en Banc, on the other hand, has not issued any decision on Cardema’s petition for substitution. (with details from April Cenedoza) /mbmf

Comelec expects influx of registrants amid last-day of voter registration

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 30, 2019

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expecting an influx of ‘last-minute’ registrants at the voter registration for the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Comelec will officially close the voter registration at 5:00 p.m. on Monday (September 30). Comelec Spokesperson Dir. James Jimenez said their office is prepared to handle the number of registrants.

“An influx of registrants is to be expected. The COMELEC has anticipated this, and we are confident that our employees in the field are prepared to handle the last-day registration scenario,” he said.

Based on Comelec Resolution 10549, Comelec will implement the following protocol for the last day of voter registration.

  • If there are still applicants lined up to register within the thirty (30) meter radius from the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) by 3:00 P.M. of September 30, 2019, their names will be promptly and consecutively listed down.
  • Each name will be announced repeatedly three (3) times in the order in which the applicants’ names were listed. Applicants who are not present when their names are called shall no longer be allowed to file their application.
  • When an applicant’s name is called and he/she is present, his/her application will be processed and his/her biometrics data will be captured. The process continues until all those listed shall have been processed.
  • An Express Lane is provided for Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens and Heavily Pregnant Applicants.

There are around 2.6 million registered voters in the country as of August 1 this year, according to Comelec’s data.—AAC

Comelec seeks P9.8-B budget for 2020

Maris Federez   •   September 16, 2019

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday (Sept. 16) asked, during the Senate budget hearing, for a P9.8-Billion budget for 2020.

The poll body said this will cover the P5.77-Billion budget for the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE), which they have been preparing for despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous statement that he wants it postponed.

Comelec said Congress has to enact a law for the postponement of the BSKE.

“Ang pakiusap namin, your honor, is sana mapabilis iyong pagpasa ng batas otherwise we have no choice but to incur some expenses preparatory expenses especially so na tali po kami ng procurement law,” said Comelec Chair Sheriff Abas.

Comelec added that should the BSKE be postponed, they request for it not to be held close to the 2022 elections.

“If postponement happens it would be preferable if it would be one year before or one year after the May 2022 (elections). So, it could be either May 2021 or May 2023,” said Commissioner Antonio Kho, Jr.

The Senate budget hearing also focused on the low voter turn-out of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the last election.

Of the five million OFWs who are qualified to vote, only 1.8 million were registered and only 18% of which actually voted.

Comelec pointed out the inadequate information dissemination for voters and the distance of the voting centers in some countries as reasons for the low voter turn-out. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

SC overturns decision to disqualify Camarines Norte gubernatorial bet

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 10) granted the petition of Camarines Norte gubernatorial candidate Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the last May 19 elections.

Tallado was allowed to run after the SC issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) following Comelec’s decision to disqualify him from the race.

The SC decision, penned by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, stated that the Court En Banc overturned the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.

The SC Public Information Office will issue a copy of the decision through its website once they receive the official copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc.

Concurring with Bersamin were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Alexander Gesmundo, Andres Reyes Jr., Jose Reyes Jr., Amy Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul Inting and Rodil Zalameda.

Dissenting were Justice Francis Jardeleza, Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari Carandang.

Comelec had disqualified Tallado to run due to what the poll body says as questionable years of service as governor of Camarines Norte, pointing out that should they grant Tallado’s certificate of candidacy, it would have already been his 4th term as governor.

The law provides that gubernatorial post is only limited to three consecutive terms.

However, Tallado took his case to the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Comelec, insisting that he is still eligible to run for the May 2019 polls as he was suspended from office in 2015 and was reinstated only in 2018.

Tallado won as the governor of Camarines Norte after garnering 149,002 votes against his rival Cathy Barcelona-Reyes who had 104,635 votes.

Comelec has yet to comment on the matter as it yet to receive a copy of the SC decision. — Marje Pelayo

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