Guanzon opposes bid to have Duterte Youth given House seat

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    THE nominees of the Duterte Youth party list can only assume their post at the House of Representatives once reservations on the group’s qualifications have been settled by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), according to Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.

    In a four-page separate opinion, Guanzon formally expressed her opposition to the call of disqualified Duterte Youth nominee Ronald Cardema for his party-list to be allowed to assume the seats it won during the 2019 elections.

    “I wish to underscore that although Duterte Youth is entitled to one seat under the party-list system, the assumption of the said seat by its nominee next in line does not follow as a matter of course upon the cancellation of the CONA (Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance) of respondent Cardema,” Guanzon said.

    Guanzon said Duterte Youth must first hurdle the remaining legal obstacles pending before the poll body before it can assume its lone seat. She noted a petition urging the Comelec to cancel the Duterte Youth’s registration which remains pending with the Comelec.

    “Duterte Youth, or its validly nominated second nominee, shall only be authorized to assume the seat reserved for it under the party-list system if and when the Commission (en banc) issues a Certificate of Proclamation in his or her favor,” said the poll official.

    “The Commission (En Banc) shall issue the appropriate Certificate of Proclamation when there is no more legal impediment for its issuance, or when there is no longer any ground to suspend the proclamation, or when all of the legal requirements for the nominee’s valid nomination and acceptance of nomination have been complied with,” she added.

    Guanzon submitted her manifestation in reaction to Cardema’s statement saying that Duterte Youth must now be allowed to assume its seat in Congress now that the poll body has resolved with finality his disqualification as nominee of the group.

    The Comelec en banc on February 5 granted Cardenas’ petition seeking to withdraw his appeal questioning the poll body’s decision to disqualify him due to his age.

    Duterte Youth received a total of 354,629 votes in the last elections, entitling it to one seat in the House of Representatives.

    However, its first nominee, Cardema, has already been ruled as ineligible due to his being overaged as a youth sector party-list representative, which requires its nominees to be between 25 to 30 years old.

    Cardema’s wife, Ducielle Cardema, is the group’s second nominee.