Palace hands off Cardema-Guanzon row

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2019 12:36 PM

MANILA- Malacañang distanced itself Monday from disqualified Duterte Youth party-list nominee Ronald Cardema's feud with poll commissioner Rowena Guanzon.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Cardema and Guanzon's quarrel is between the two of them, insisting that President Rodrigo Duterte respects the Commission on Elections' independence.

"The case between Mr. Cardema and Commissioner Guanzon I think, is between the 2 of them," Panelo told reporters.

"Moreover, the President respects the independence of any constitutional body so the President has not interfered on any function of the commission as well as other constitutional body," he said.

The poll body canceled the 34-year-old Cardema's nomination as representative of the Duterte Youth party-list because the law requires youth representatives to be from 25 to 30 years old. Cardema appealed the ruling.

The former youth commissioner, over the weekend, asked President Duterte for help as he accused Guanzon of extortion.

Guanzon has been vocal about her opposition to Cardema's nomination and has accused the latter of being behind death threats against her and her family.

"If Mr. Cardema has the goods on anyone, then he should file the appropriate charges," Panelo said.

Guanzon has denied Cardema's allegations of extortion, saying she is richer than the former youth commissioner "for sure."

"Why will I extort money from him or anyone? I don't need it. I am richer than Cardema for sure," she said in a tweet.