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Brillantes group moves to disqualify Cardema couple’s bid to sit in Congress

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A group of petitioners on Tuesday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reject the latest withdrawal and substitution of Duterte Youth party-list group’s new set of nominees.

In a 17-page petition, Ma. Jizelle dela Paz Valenzuela, Aunell Ross Angcos, Mark Daniel Bolima, Michael John Navarez and Hannah Denise Navarroza with their counsels, Sixto Brillantes III and Emilio Marañon, noted that the action taken by the party-list is to secure the single House of Representative seat to either by Ronald Cardema or his wife, Ducielle.

“The obvious motive is to secure the congressional seat to Ronald Cardema’s wife, Ducielle, should the cancellation of the former’s nomination is affirmed by the Comelec en banc. In other words, this ploy was intended to secure and confine the congressional seat to either of the Cardema couple,” the petition read.

“That this another wave of ‘merry-go-round’ of nominees of Duterte Youth is not only a clear violation of the Republic Act No. 7941 and applicable jurisprudence but a blatant insult to the intelligence of this Commission and of the whole nation, this, should not be allowed in all cost,” it added.

The petition said the second wave of withdrawals by Gian Carlo Galang (second nominee), Catherine R. Santos (third nominee), Kerwin M. Pagaran (fourth nominee) and Sharah Shane T. Makabali (fifth nominee) were done beyond the deadline as stated under Rule 4 Section 4 of Comelec Resolution No. 9366.

“This would mean that the withdrawal of nominations and acceptance of nominations are allowed only if made ‘before the close of polls’. In other words, it can no longer be made after elections. That for the 2019 party-list polls, the last day would be the close of the May 13, 2019 polls,” the petition said.

“Nominee nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Duterte Youth filed their withdrawal more than two months after the May 13, 2019 polls. The acceptance of nomination to pave the way for substitution was filed only last August 6, 2019. Both acts were clearly effected way beyond the May 13, 2019 deadline set by Comelec Resolution No. 9366, hence, cannot be given due course,” it noted.

The petitioners claimed that Cardema’s cancellation of the nomination and mass withdrawal of the group’s nominees “is effectively an attempt to alter the order of nominees which is prohibited by Section 8 of Republic Act 7941 or the Party-list System Act.

“No change of names or alteration of the order of nominees shall be allowed after the same shall have been submitted to the Comelec except in cases where the nominee dies or withdraws in writing his nomination, becomes incapacitated in which case the name of the substitute shall be placed last in the list….,” a portion of the Section 8 of RA 7941 states.

After the mass withdrawal, Cardema submitted a Certificate of Nomination indicating a new set of nominees, where he is the first nominee while his wife, is the second nominee.

The other nominees are Guillermo B. Villarreal, Jr., Krizza D. Reyes and Robert D. Garcia.

The certificate was filed before the Comelec Law Department, a day after the First Division canceled his nomination to represent the said party due to a material misrepresentation.

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