Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Resolution No. 10529 yesterday (June 4) “giving due course” to the application for substitution of Ronald Cardema to be the first nominee of Duterte Youth begs a fundamental question: Why should the poll body spend even just one second entertaining a petition that makes a mockery of the party-list system?

Given the benefit of hindsight, Cardema’s salivation for a seat in the House of Representatives (HOR) against all legal odds now makes it clear that the Duterte Youth fielded “dummy nominees” in October 2018 who were all conveniently replaced by a new set of nominees at the 11th hour. Cardema’s overeagerness to be a youth sector party-list representative does not erase his being overaged to do so.

If only COMELEC could see through the travesty, they would immediately dismiss Cardema’s last-minute petition for the outright mockery. As he tries to engage in legal acrobatics, Cardema treats the COMELEC as an institutional marionette whose strings are pulled from his political patrons.

It is bad enough that the application for substitution was given due course, what makes matters worse is COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez’s initial announcement that Cardema’s petition for substitution has already been approved. This prompted some news media organizations to initially disseminate misleading information.

Amid the misleading information coming from the poll body, Kontra Daya appreciates the initiative of COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon not just to clarify the facts but also to dissent to COMELEC Resolution No. 10529. Worth commending also is COMELEC Commissioner Luie Tito Guia for abstaining due to his past opposition to the accreditation of Duterte Youth as a party-list group.

As regards the five commissioners who signed COMELEC Resolution No. 10529, they have further besmirched whatever is left of the reputation of the poll body. Its office remains at Palacio del Gobernador but its orifice extends to Malacañan Palace.

To assuage any suspicion of betrayal of public trust, COMELEC should not just strongly reprimand Cardema for his insulting audacity but also disqualify Duterte Youth for the resulting mockery.

Contact person: Danilo Arao, convenor, Kontra Daya

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