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

Maris Federez   •   May 23, 2019   •   1895

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

Duterte won’t interfere in Cardema-Guanzon row – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

File: President Rodrigo Duterte (PCOO)

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday said that President Rodrigo Duterte will not interfere with the row between Duterte Youth Party-list nominee Ronald Cardema and Commission on Elections (Comelec) Rowena Guanzon.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Cardema and Guanzon’s feud is between the two of them.

He added that the president will not meddle in the issue as he respects the independence of Comelec and other constitutional bodies.

“The case between Mr. Cardema and Commissioner Guanzon, I think it’s between the two of them,” he said.

“Moreover, the President respects the independence of any constitutional body. The President has not and will not interfere on any function of the Commission as well as other constitutional bodies,” he added.

Guanzon has been vocal about her opposition to Cardema’s nomination as the Duterte Youth Party-list representative and accused the latter as the one behind the threats against her.

Cardema, in turn, accused Guanzon of extortion, which she denied.

The Commissioner also dared the former to file an impeachment case against her.

READ: Comelec 1st division cancels Cardema’s nomination as Duterte Youth party rep

The feud between the two follows the decision of the poll body’s first division to cancel Cardema’s nomination as representative of the Duterte Youth party because the law states that youth representatives must be from 25 to 30 years old.

Instead of having word war, Panelo advised Cardema to file an appropriate complaint against Guanzon to settle the issue. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

9 of 10 Filipinos favor automated election system — Pulse Asia

Maris Federez   •   August 7, 2019

Majority of the Filipinos still favor continuing the holding of elections through an automated system in the future.

Based on Pulse Asia’s recent survey conducted last June, nine of 10 or 91% of Filipinos would still prefer having the elections done electronically.

They said an automated election system is faster and the results are immediately released.

“They feel that faster results made the Elections more credible and then it’s also easier compared to let’s say how we use to vote where you have to write the surname of the candidate,” Pulse Asia president Dr. Ronnie Holmes said.

An election watchdog, however, said that since election results were difficult to manipulate under the AES, reports of vote-buying increased.

“Vote buying became more rampant after we automated our Elections because candidates, politicians did not know how to cheat the machines,” said LENTE executive director Atty. Ona Carritos.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) believes that President Rodrigo Duterte still trusts the automated election system despite his earlier pronouncement in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) favoring the termination of the contract with Smartmatic. (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Malacañang keeps distance from SC decision lifting TRO on Mamasapano trial

Maris Federez   •   August 7, 2019

The Office of the President has distanced itself from the Supreme Court (SC) decision that lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the hearing of the case against former president Benigno Aquino III on the Mamasapano encounter.

Read: SC lifts TRO on Mamasapano trial at Sandiganbayan

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has refused to further comment on the issue as the palace would not want to be accused of meddling with the decision of the judiciary which is a co-equal branch of government.

“[W]e refuse to comment on the action undertaken by the Supreme Court, which belongs to a separate and independent branch of government from ours. We cannot and we do not intend to interfere with the functions of other branches which are distinct from the Executive,” Panelo said.

The palace, he added, would rather see the judicial process roll on its own accord.

“We will, as usual, let the law take its course,” Panelo said. (with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

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