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Guanzon questions NPO on ‘subcontracted’ printing of voter info sheet

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday questioned the National Printing Office (NPO) on its alleged subcontracting of the printing of the voter’s information sheet for the 2019 midterm polls.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said they are seeking clarification from the NPO following the discovery of some errors in the printed information sheet just days before the elections.

“Dahil government to government eh walang bidding, tapos nalaman ko at sagutin nila ako kung totoo. Tanungin niyo sila, pina-subcontract ba nila sa Holy Family Printing Press ang voter information sheet namin?” Guanzon said at a chance interview at the National Board of Canvassers for the Senate and party-list race on Wednesday.

She noted that NPO’s alleged subcontracting is against the rules of the Commission on Audit (COA). Under the law, the NPO is mandated to provide printing services to government agencies and instrumentalities.

“Kaya nga sila ang pinili namin para wala na kaming bidding,” she said.

The poll official said the errors contained in the printed voter information sheets could have confused voters and resulted in a failure of elections.

“Mabuti na lang naagapan and the Comelec en banc ordered na huwag i-distribute ‘yung voter information sheets,” she said.

Guanzon added that the NPO should clarify the issue because they may be held liable for it.

“NPO should be asked because they are accountable for this. Siningil nila kami ng P4.00 per voter information sheet na napakaliit ng print,” she said.

“Kung totoo iyan, and some directors answer my question, Holy Family Printing ang nag-deliver sa kanila at mali-mali,” she added.

The NPO has yet to issue any comment on the matter as of posting time. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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DILG to pursue raps against winning narco-politicians

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 24th, 2019

Campaign posters and flyers are left scattered after people voted for their candidates during the election on May 13, 2013 at the Tabuk Central School, Tabuk City, Kalinga. The same scenario is seen on other precincts, posters and flyers are seen scattered on entrances of precincts. (Gaye Fritz Ofilas/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – The government will pursue the administrative charges filed against the politicians named on the narco-list who won in the 2019 midterm elections, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Friday.

“Kahit na pinalad silang manalo, tuloy pa rin ang administrative cases laban sa kanila. Hindi pa rin sila makakalusot kung sila ay mapapatunayang sangkot talaga sa iligal na droga,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a press statement.

Año said that the government still considers as victory the defeat of some narco-politicians in the recent polls.

“The purpose of President Duterte in releasing the names was to inform the public of the local officials who are linked to the drug trade. The fact that some of them lost is already a substantial victory for us because if we didn’t release the names, more, if not all, could have won the election,” he said.

The DILG in March filed administrative charges against 46 suspected narco-politicians. Of this number, 37 ran for public office and 26 won a fresh term despite the release of the narco-list two months prior to the polls.

Among them were two congressmen, one vice-governor, 18 mayors, three vice-mayors, one councilor and one board member. These suspected narco-politicians were from Calabarzon, BARMM, Eastern Visayas, Ilocos Region, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, SOCCKSARGEN, and Caraga.

Año said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will file the criminal cases against the said politicians linked to narcotics trade.

He added that the DILG is in close coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), PDEA, and other national government agencies tasked in the illegal drugs war for the continued pursuit of all cases against the winning narco-politicians.

Año said there is a possibility that drug money was used during the election campaign.

“It’s not impossible that drug money was used in the campaign so that could have been a factor in their victory considering the prevalence of vote buying in the last election,” he said.

He further stated that the DILG is in close coordination with the National Police Commission for the removal of police deputation powers of the winning narco-politicians ahead of their official assumption to office on June 30.

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Guanzon to oppose Cardema’s substitution as Duterte youth group rep

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon and former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema

MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Thursday said she will oppose any move to grant the substitution bid of former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema.

In a message posted on her Twitter account, Guanzon said she has not signed a decision on Cardema’s plea as the issue has yet to be decided by the poll body.

“I have not signed a reso [resolution] giving due course to Cardema’s application for substitution but I will dissent,” she said.

“He filed it on a Sunday May 12, which is not a regular work day. And didn’t file on last day May 13,” she added.

Guanzon also said in her tweet that Comelec Sheriff Abas only signed a resolution giving due course to Cardema’s bid, but whether he is qualified to substitute is another matter.

“But can he substitute? Is Cardema qualified to be rep [representative] of Duterte Youth? That is not yet decided,” she said.

Cardema grabbed headlines after he made a last-minute substitution appeal as a nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list group without seeking permission from the Office of the President.

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.

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

Guanzon, however, noted that the issue in the resolution is if Cardema had filed his application on or before the May 13 elections.  

“The issue in that Reso [resolution] is only: Did Cardema file his application for substitution in time on or before May 13? Chair Abas said Cardema had majority vote of Commissioners. I will dissent,” she said.

The poll official earlier questioned Cardema’s age after the latter claimed in his certificate of candidacy that he is qualified to represent a youth sector party-list.

“In my opinion, if the original nominee is also above 30 then they are not qualified and you cannot substitute validly if the original nominee or candidate is disqualified in the first place,” Guanzon said in a separate interview after the proclamation of winning party-list groups on Tuesday.

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.

Cardema’s Facebook account stated that he was born on April 13, 1986, which makes him 33.

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.

Meanwhile, Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez said the Comelec en Banc is still studying Cardema’s petition.

“Iyong decision na papel wala pa. So, we will probably forward it to you as soon as we get it,” he said. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

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

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