MANILA (UPDATED) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has accepted the new set of substitute nominees of Duterte Youth Party-list.
Atty. Emilio Marañon III, the lawyer of the petitioners against Duterte Youth, said the Comelec en banc approved the party-list's new set of nominees despite it being filed past the deadline.
This means that Comelec has approved the substitution of Ducielle Marie Suarez, Guillermo Villareal Jr., Krizza Reyes, and Robert Garcia.
Suarez is the wife of former youth commission chair Ronald Cardema, who was disqualified by the Comelec as the first nominee of Duterte Youth for being overaged.
The party-list later renominated Cardema, before he formally withdrew his nomination last week.
In a statement, Marañon said they are disappointed with how the Comelec en banc approved the substitute nominees of Duterte Youth even when the withdrawal and substitution of party-list nominees were done beyond the Comelec deadline.
"This deadline is clearly provided for in Rule 4 Section 4 of Comelec Resolution No. 9366 and we do not understand why Duterte Youth is being exempted from the deadline. With this, Comelec effectively rewrote its own rules and even the law in accommodating Duterte Youth's belated withdrawal," he said.
"Clearly, this another wave of 'merry-go-round' of nominees is intended to secure Duterte Youth’s congressional seat to either of the Cardema couple which is not only legally but morally wrong," Marañon added.
Marañon said they will raise the issue to the Supreme Court as the action is "patently illegal and unconstitutional."
The Comelec has yet to officially proclaim Suarez as Duterte Youth's representative. - with a report from Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News