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

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2019   •   1595

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)

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)

DILG to pursue raps against winning narco-politicians

Robie de Guzman   •   May 24, 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.

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

Robie de Guzman   •   May 23, 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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