By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA — The Duterte Youth party-list first nominee, Ronald Cardema, on Tuesday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reverse it’s First Division’s decision canceling his nomination to represent the party-list group.
In his 11-page motion for reconsideration (MR), Cardema insisted that he is eligible to occupy the Duterte Youth’s congressional seat it won in the last May 13 mid-term elections after getting 354,629 votes.
“It is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Commission that this Motion for Reconsideration be granted and that the August 5 Resolution of the First Division be reconsidered, reversed, and set aside,” Cardema said in his MR.
Cardema contested the poll body’s ruling on August 5 that Duterte Youth’s nominees should not be more than 30 years old.
“This finding is baseless considering that the records would disclose that Duterte Youth Party-list was registered and approved by this Honorable Commission En Banc as a sectoral party representing the youth and young professionals,” he said.
“To limit the qualification of Duterte Youth’s nominees to the age bracket of 25 to 30 years old is gravely erroneous considering that “young professionals” is devoid of legal meaning or definition. What is more, the decision of the party-list to leave the meaning of young professionals vague in their Charter and the fact that they chose respondent/movant to represent them as their first nominee only mean that they do not limit its definition to those within the age bracket of 25 to 30 years old. This decision, being internal to the party, ought to be respected by the Honorable Commission,” he added.
Cardema also questioned the ruling that he made material misrepresentation since he is beyond the age of 30 years set by Section 9 of Republic Act No. 7941 and therefore is ineligible to represent the youth sector.
“However, since it is settled that the registration of Duterte Youth Party-list is not limited to the youth sector only, there appears to be no basis for the Honorable Commission First Division to rule that respondent/movant Cardema made material representation by claiming he is eligible to be the first nominee of Duterte Youth Party-list when he is already 34 years of age or beyond the maximum age set by law for nominees of the youth sector,” he said.
“The Constitution and By-Laws of Duterte Youth Party-list intentionally did not define what a young professional is but this matter is something that is internal to the party and which may or may not be a subject of a resolution later on,” he added.
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the poll body will decide first on the validity of the new set of nominees submitted by Duterte Youth next week.
“I don’t know who is giving him legal advice. But, anyway, the Commission en banc will rule on that,” Guanzon said in a media interview on Wednesday.
The new set of nominees also includes Cardema’s wife, Ducielle Marie (second nominee), Guillermo B. Villareal Jr., (third nominee) Krizza D. Reyes (fourth nominee), and Robert D. Garcia (fifth nominee). (PNA)