Duterte Youth formally objects to Guanzon’s substitution

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2022 07:15 PM

This composite image shows Ronald Cardema and Rowena Guanzon. George Calvelo and Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file
This composite image shows Ronald Cardema and Rowena Guanzon. George Calvelo and Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — The Duterte Youth party-list group on Friday formally objected to the substitution of former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Rowena Guanzon as 1st nominee of the P3PWD party-list in the House of Representatives under the 19th Congress.

The complaint was signed by the Duterte Youth chair Ronald Gian Cardema, and his wife, Duterte Youth party-list Rep. Ducielle Cardema.

The complaint said Guanzon's substitution failed to meet the deadline and was "a wanton abuse and violation" of the Party-List System Act and the Comelec's own rules. 
 
"The Duterte Youth Party-List, as an incumbent party-list Member of the Philippine Congress, is compelled to file this Opposition to the attempt now of P3PWD Party-List to circumvent the law and promulgated Comelec Rules, just to substitute its nominees long after the deadline set by the Honorable Commission,” it added. 

The petition noted that on June 14, 2022, the media reported that all nominees of P3PWD, under oath, filed their respective withdrawal of acceptance of nominations for various reasons, and that on the same day, the the party-list submitted a new set of substitute nominees.

"Based on the above provisions of Resolution 9366 as amended by Resolution 10690, substitution due to withdrawal was allowed only until 15 November 2021," the petition said.

"In case of death or incapacity, substitution is allowed only until mid-day of election day. In this case, P3PWD filed its substitution documents way beyond the above-mentioned deadlines (15 November 2021 and mid-day of 9 May 2022 National and Local Elections)," it added. 

"Thus, P3PWD's attempt to substitute its nominees is clearly violative of Comelec Resolution 9366 as amended by Resolution 10690,” the petition stressed.

The petition also argued that giving due course to this specific substitution would also be a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

It said this was due to the fact that until last February, Guanzon was still a public official and commissioner of the Comelec, "the agency in charge of approving all party lists that will be joining the 2022 Elections, including P3PWD Party list." 

Meanwhile, Guanzon told ABS-CBN News that Cardema “should also oppose Cong. Marcoleta's substitution so he will be more famous #bardagulan.”

The Comelec on Friday announced it approved the new lineup of nominees of SAGIP party-list, allowing Rodante Marcoleta to sit again as lawmaker in the incoming 19th Congress. 

Those opposed to Guanzon's substitution as a nominee of the P3PWD party-list have until June 30 to file their petitions at the Comelec.

On Thursday, Comelec acting spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said the law requires that the new set of nominees be published within 5 days from filing precisely for this purpose.

Laudiangco said the Comelec allowed substitutions even after the November 2021 deadline because the Party-List Law did not specifically prohibit the submission of substitutes and filing of new nominees when the original or current list had been exhausted.

Three of the remaining Comelec commissioners voted to grant Guanzon's substitution, namely chairperson Socorro Inting, and commissioners Marlon Casquejo and Rey Bulay. 

Commissioner Aimee Ferolino wanted to defer action on the substitution until there was compliance with the publication requirement.

Ferolino and Guanzon previously clashed. Guanzon had hit Ferolino for allegedly delaying the resolution of the disqualification cases against then-presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The Comelec earlier proclaimed P3PWD as one of the party-list winners in Halalan 2022. The commission en banc reached its decision during its regular session just one day after the P3PWD party-list filed their documents with the Comelec law department.

Guanzon was commissioner until Feb. 2 this year, having completed her 7-year term as a member of the poll body. 

She attended as a guest the gathering in May of the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc., where it backed the Rep. Martin Romualdez as the next House Speaker.

It was during Guanzon's term as commissioner that P3PWD's accreditation was approved by the poll body's second division on Sept. 17, 2021. 

That division was then composed of Inting and now Supreme Court Justice Associate Antonio Kho, who was a member of the poll body at the time.

Guanzon only filed her affidavit of acceptance on June 10.

Cardema had been Guanzon's leading critic after she blocked his bid to get into the House during the 18th Congress. She had used the same argument that Cardema is now raising against her.

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