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