MANILA - An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday tagged former youth commission chair Ronald Cardema in fresh threats against her and her family, saying he should answer the allegation publicly.
Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon said she received text messages threatening her and her family "immediately after news of Mr. Cardema’s disqualification came out."
Comelec had canceled 34-year-old Cardema's nomination as representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list for being four years over the age limit for the sector's representatives.
"In the past, Mr. Cardema has denied this on television, denied that he’s responsible for it or his cohorts are responsible for it. But these recent messages are worse because they are now attacking my family," she told reporters.
"Whether or not he is directly responsible for it, I still believe Mr. Cardema should come out to the public and deny it because I want to hear him answer my accusation that his group or gang are threatening harm to myself and members of my family."
Guanzon said the threats were "very specific."
"The first time was like 'Pag hindi mo kami pinaupo… (If you do not let us get the seat).' The second threat starts with something like 'Kunyari ka pa, hindi ikaw ang gumawa (You are pretending you're not the one behind it),’ because I said I was not the ponente right? So the timing is perfect. Sabi niya (He said) he doesn’t even have my phone number, everybody can get my number," she said.
Guanzon added that there is a "limit to what commissioners can ignore in these instances."
"I can defend myself, but if you threaten my family and they have nothing to do in my work that’s another matter. You will answer to me," she said.
"The dangerous part of our job because the litigants here in our courts are politicians and politicians don’t like to lose. But if they don’t accept our authority then we have a serious problem in our democratic country. It means they don’t respect our authority."
The Comelec 1st Division had cancelled Cardema's bid as first nominee of the Duterte Youth Party-List, ruling that the 34-year-old was ineligible.
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.