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

Robie de Guzman   •   May 23, 2019   •   2816

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)

Voter registration to resume on January 4, 2021 – COMELEC

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The voter registration will resume on January 4, 2021, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announced on Wednesday.

“If you missed the last day of #VoterReg2020, don’t despair just yet. #VoterRegistration will resume January 4, 2021. #MakeAPlanToRegister then. #MagparehistroKa!” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a tweet.

In an earlier advisory, COMELEC said the last day of voter registration for this year was on December 29, 2020.

The voter registration was also closed during the special non-working days and regular holidays for the month of December.

Voter registration is conducted from Mondays to Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with Friday as the designated disinfection day unless the local government unit prescribes a different disinfection day, the advisory read.

The poll body reminded the public that anti-COVID-19 protocols are being strictly imposed in all COMELEC offices.

Lawmakers deny links to DPWH corruption

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 29, 2020

The eight current and former lawmakers named by President Rodrigo Duterte to have been involved in the corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have denied the said allegation.

Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Sato, in a statement, said her inclusion in the list is to out malign her credibility especially with the upcoming elections.

“The report made by Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica which impinges on my credentials as a public servant is clearly calculated to sow intrigues and disruption in the local politics of Occidental Mindoro,” she said.

Sato said Belgica is a known ally of her possible opponent in the 2022 elections.

Former Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. said he is currently not facing any investigations involving corruption.

Baguilat reiterated that he will not go through the lengths of promoting Cordillera products had he been accepting kickbacks from the DPWH projects.

Misamis Occidental Representative Henry Oaminal also released a statement welcoming the investigations to be conducted on the issue to prove his innocence.

Bataan Representative Geraldine Roman also expressed her willingness to cooperate in any investigation to clear her name.

“I am open to any investigation to establish the truth on this matter and I am sure that my honor will be vindicated. My conscience is clear,” she said in a statement.

Quezon City 5th District Representative Alfred Vargas, meanwhile, has insisted that his 12 years in public service has been unblemished.

“I am ready to submit myself to an investigation by the proper authority. Mere allegations are not proof,” he said.

Quezon Province Representative Angelina Helen Tan, meanwhile, challenge the PACC to visit the project in Gumaca and not base their allegations on anonymous tips and reports.

Northern Samar Representative Paul Daza said there might be former DPWH contractors who might have put his name on the list especially after his office exposed alleged anomalies in the department’s projects.

“Records and history will show that it was my office who exposed former elected officials and contractors for abandoning projects. Because of my call for an investigation, I believe no less than six (6) of them have already been blacklisted by the DPWH recently,” he said.

ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Eric Yap reiterated he was not involved in any DPWH bidding in Benguet. He is also willing to resign if proven guilty of the allegations against him.

Once the session resumes at the House of Representatives, Yap said he will file a motion to investigate Belgica regarding alleged anomalies in the Duty-Free Philippines. -AAC (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

OFWs exempted from travel ban on countries with new COVID-19 strain cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in countries with a travel ban from the government are exempted and will be allowed to enter the Philippines, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In a press conference on Tuesday (December 29), Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said President Rodrigo Duterte wants OFWs to be able to return to their families.

Bello said returning OFWs would need to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Some 60,000 to 100,000 OFWs are expected to return in the next two weeks, he added.

Duterte, on Monday (December 28), approved the imposition of travel ban on countries with confirmed reports of the new strain of COVID-19. The travel ban will take effect on December 30 at 12:01 a.m. until January 15. AAC

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