MANILA — The jurisdiction over former youth commissioner Ronald Cardema's substitution bid to sit as party-list representative still belongs to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the poll body's spokesperson said Friday.
His bid to represent Duterte Youth has drawn criticism as he is 33, three years over the age limit for youth representation.
"In this particular instance we still have the ball basically kasi ang pinagtatalunan dito ay (because the debate here is) whether or not the substitution has been validly achieved," Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told a press conference.
Jimenez was reacting to 1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Michael Romero's statement that Cardema's bid to sit as Duterte Youth representative would be better resolved by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).
Romero argued that Cardema was already "recognized as congressman" by the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI).
"We already accepted the membership of Cardema as member of the PCFI. So we recognize him as a congressman already," Romero told reporters in an ambush interview during a House gathering Thursday.
"I think the Comelec has already proclaimed him. So it's out of the jurisdiction of Comelec... So sa HRET na lang siguro 'yung complaint (So the complaint should be under HRET), whoever will complain," Romero added.
Jimenez, however, clarified that what was proclaimed was the party-list itself and not the nominees.
Cardema is eyeing to replace his wife as representative of Duterte Youth, which bagged one congressional seat at the recently concluded elections.
All five nominees of the party-list backed out on the eve of the midterm vote due to fears over debating with left-leaning solons, Cardema said.
The Comelec en banc has yet to resolve Cardema's plea, which is facing 10 oppositions.