MANILA - An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) denied Monday she asked for favors and money from former youth commissioner Ronald Cardema in exchange for the accreditation of his group Duterte Youth Party-list.
Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon made the remark after Cardema said he would pursue criminal charges against her for alleged extortion and a possible impeachment complaint.
"He’s (Cardema) saying he allegedly had text messages with this woman, he’s naming her as my bagwoman. If you gave money to that woman it never reached me. If you were duped why are you blaming me?" Guanzon told ANC's Dateline Philippines.
"This Cardema is a liar and a namedropper."
Over the weekend, Cardema had accused Guanzon of demanding cash and favors since January through a congresswoman he refused to identify.
The alleged favors include Cardema lobbying for for the appointment of a regional trial court judge in Iloilo and a Department of Public Works and Highways regional director in Negros, which Guanzon denied.
"I’m from Negros, I’m not from Iloilo. Why would I want him to have somebody appointed, what is he, the president of Philippines? He’s not powerful, he’s just a namedropper," she said.
"He’s just using the President’s name that why he grabbed the votes. He got the votes from Davao because he used the President’s name without expressed consent."
Guanzon also denied Cardema's extortion claim and challenged him to make public his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth as she will do the same.
"I dare him to show me that he has P2 million in cash in the bank," she said. "I think I have more money than him."
Guanzon reiterated she will not inhibit from Cardema's appeal for his nomination as partylist representative before the Comelec en banc.
Cardema was earlier disqualified as the partylist's representative for being 4 years over the age limit of 30 to represent the youth sector.
Guanzon said she doubts Cardema will get 4 votes to win his case even if she inhibits.
"These are the times that make me feel that this job is worth it. I’ve been in government for 25 years or more and I’ve always fought it out," she said.
"That’s the difference between him and me, I am fighting for my institution, what is he fighting for? He’s fighting for his pork barrel funds."