Comelec urged to proclaim final 2 party-list nominees

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    THE House of Representative has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to issue the certificate of proclamations to the embattled first nominees of the party-lists Senior Citizen and Duterte Youth.

    Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other House leaders filed House Resolution No. 552 “respectfully urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to issue the certificate of proclamations (COPS) to the respective first nominees of the party-lists Senior Citizen and Duterte Youth representing the last two remaining seats allocated to party list representatives in accordance with the 1987 Constitution.”

    Cayetano filed the measure on Monday night along with majority leader Martin Romualdez of Leyte; minority leader Bienvenido Abante Jr; Deputy Speakers Mikee Romero (1-Pacman), Rodante Marcoleta (1-Sagip), Conrado Estrella (Abono) and Eddie Villanueva (Cibac) and other lawmakers who are mostly from the party-list bloc.

    “The prolonged or more than six months unresolved and undecided cases evidently deny due process to the parties, including the disenfranchised 857,653 Filipinos who voted for the party-list Senior Citizens (with 510,356 votes) and Duterte Youth (with 347, 297 votes),” HRN 552 said.

    The Comelec en banc had earlier accepted Duterte Youth chairman Ronald Cardema’s bid to withdraw his nomination as the first nominee while his wife Ducielle Suarez Cardema, the group’s second nominee, is vying to be the party’s first nominee.

    In Comelec Minute Resolution No. 19-1006, the poll body said they are approving the withdrawal of Cardema since it was able to meet requirements set by the law.

    “The Commission, after due deliberation, resolves to accept the withdrawal of Ronald Cardema as first nominee of Duterte Youth party-list having been executed in due form and as the same is ministerial act of the Commission,” the poll body ruled.

    All but one member of the Comelec en banc approved the decision, with Commissioner Luie Guia abstaining.

    Commissioner Rowena Guanzon has said, however that Ducielle will not automatically sit as a congresswoman even if his husband has already withdrawn his bid.

    The Comelec has yet to decide on the case of the Senior Citizens party-list group which has sought its intervention amid an internal dispute over its official nominees.

    A resolution does not have the effect of a law and only expresses the sense of the House of Representatives which is yet to adopt the measure in the plenary.

    Guanzon assailed the House leadership for issuing the call and said it was unacceptable because the Comelec is an independent agency.

    In her Twitter account, Guanzon said: “That Resolution of the House of Reps ‘urging’ the @COMELEC to resolve the cases encroaches on our independence as an independent constitutional Commission.”

    “By law, it is only the Comelec that has exclusive, sole power to register and qualify political parties and party-list nominees,” she added.

    Guanzon cited due process as the reason behind the delay in the issuance of the final decisions on the cases of the Duterte Youth and the Senior Citizens party-list groups.

    “Parties Cardemas were given due process… Hearings pleadings… but petitioners against them also have the right to be heard,” she said.

    “What right to due process was violated by us @COMELEC? It is the people that have a right to due process here,” she added. – With Gerard Naval