MANILA (UPDATE) - The Commission on Elections has yet to resolve the substitution bid of former National Youth Commission chair Ronald Cardema as representative of Duterte Youth party-list group.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the poll body, however, will still proceed with the proclamation of winners in the party-list race Wednesday.
The poll body is still studying the case, but age of nominees is among the primary contentions, Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon told reporters shortly after the party-list proclamation.
“In my opinion, if the original nominee is above 30 years old, then they are not qualified,” Guanzon said.
“You cannot substitute validly if the original nominee or candidate is disqualified in the first place.”
Under the Party-list System Act, a nominee of the youth sector must not be more than 30 years old on the day of the election. Cardema is 33.
Cardema defended his move, claiming he is not too old to represent the party that was also encompassed “professionals.”
Guanzon slammed the claim noting she saw the party’s registration documents.
“Nandu’n nga ang word na youth so hindi mo naman puwede i-dilute ang word na youth,” Guanzon said.
“It should have been registered as a professional organization, but it is not. Kaya nga Duterte Youth. Youth ang pangalan niya diba?”
Cardema's wife, Ducielle, the first nominee for Duterte Youth, along with 4 other nominees withdrew their candidacies on May 12, a day before the midterm elections.
Cardema filed his petition for substitution on the same day.
Critics have slammed Cardema for supposedly making a mockery of the party-list system.
Cardema, who attended the party-list proclamation in Pasay City, refused to answer questions from the media.