Duterte Youth to SC: Bar Guanzon from assuming party-list rep

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 21) — The legal drama between former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Rowena Guanzon and Duterte Youth chairman Ronald Cardema just got messier.

The party-list represented by Cardema and his wife, Representative Ducielle Marie Cardema, had asked the Supreme Court to void Comelec's resolution that approved the substitution of P3PWD's nominees.

The party sought a temporary restraining order to stop the poll body from issuing a certificate of proclamation to the new set of nominees led by Guanzon, and to block the House of Representatives from allowing her to assume office.

The petitioners argued the substitution of P3PWD nominees was not valid for violating Comelec's own rule.

Rule 4 of Section 6 of Comelec Resolution No. 9366, as amended by Resolution No. 10690, states that the withdrawal of nominations and substitution of nominees due to withdrawal shall be made not later than November 15, 2021.

P3PWD secured a seat during the May 9 elections. On June 14, all the five original nominees resigned and submitted to Comelec a new set of names, including Guanzon.

The poll body's en banc approved the substitution a day after.

Petitioners argued that Comelec made it clear that substitution of nominees can only be done not later than the day of the elections in case of death or incapacity or until November 15 of the year preceding the elections for substitution due to withdrawal.

"Clearly, what was done by P3PWD was a grand deception designed to accommodate Guanzon even if it means betrayal of electorate's trust and shameless mockery of the law and circumvention of the Party-List system," they said.

Cardema also accused Guanzon of pressuring other P3PWD's nominees to resign in order to give way to her.

Guanzon said she will answer Duterte Youth's petition: "Wala na pong epekto yan dahil approved na ang substitution ko ng Commission en banc pero sasagutin ko ang petition niya."

[Translation: That [the petition] has no longer any effect because the Commission en banc already approved my substitution but I will still answer his petition.]

Back in 2019, the former poll body official opposed Cardema's nomination as Duterte Youth's representative.

Meanwhile, Guanzon is not done yet. She filed on Tuesday a separate libel and unjust vexation complaint against Cardema before the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office.

"I am filing a case against R. Cardema in the Ombudsman for violation of the code of ethics," Guanzon tweeted.