Duterte Youth Chairman Ronald Cardema’s offer to withdraw his nomination as the party’s first candidate was approved by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc.
Five out of seven commissioners voted to approve Cardema’s notice of withdrawal submitted last September in a survey resolution obtained by Rappler on Tuesday, November 26.
After due deliberation, the commission agreed to recognize the withdrawal of Mr. Ronald Gian L Cardema as the first candidate of the Duterte Youth Party List, executed in due form as the commission’s ministerial act, the Comelec reported in a minute resolution of 23 October.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas and Al Parreño, Socorro Inting, Antonio Kho Jr, and Marlon Casquejo voted in favor of authorizing the removal of Cardena. Commissar Luie Tito Guia abstained, while the decision was “noted” by Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon. The Comelec previously approved the 2nd withdrawal and replacement of candidates by the group despite their filing past the deadline, which is expected to be before polls close on election day.
His wife Danielle Suarez Cardema, apart from party chair Cardema, also faced petitions seeking to disqualify her as the 2nd candidate of Duterte Youth. Yet Guanzon said that this did not stop Ducielle Cardema from asking the Secretary-General of the House to swear in as a member.
Duterte Youth has been unable to obtain her seat in the House since the proclamation of winners in the May 2019 polls due to several resolutions submitted at the Comelec challenging the validity of her nominees and party registration.
Establishing a precedent. Former poll chair Sixto Brillantes Jr and earlier election attorney Emil Marañon resisted Cardema’s move to revoke his nomination, arguing that the polling body must first rule on his reconsideration petition, which
asked the Comelec en banc to reconsider his appointment being canceled.
The Comelec 1st Division had ruled back in August to cancel the nomination of Cardena. There is already a 1st Division ruling… granting our petition to deny due course, effectively declaring his nomination as void ab initio (from the beginning). Technically, Cardema is unable to withdraw what has not existed, they said.
Brillantes and Marañon were joining Cardema and Duterte Youth in the face of opposition. Together with the MillennialsPH youth group, earlier poll lawyers filed petitions seeking to cancel the nomination of Cardema and block the new candidates of Duterte Youth. Besides these, they also filed a petition to declare the registration of Duterte Youth void ab initio or to cancel it completely.
Despite the recent decision by the Comelec to recognize Cardema’s withdrawal as the 1st candidate of Duterte Youth, decisions on his motion for reconsideration requesting the reversal of his canceled nomination and his attempt to withdraw this reconsideration motion have yet to be published.
What’s going on next? While Cardema’s withdrawal from his nomination was accepted by the Comelec, Duterte Youth will still not be able to take up a seat in the House. Guanzon told Rappler that Comelec still has to issue a proclamation certificate from the group, which is a requirement for a nominee to take a seat in the House.