COMELEC should disclose all petitions for substitution of party-list representatives

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PRESS STATEMENT
May 25, 2019

In the wake of public outcry over the maneuvering of former National Youth Commission (NYC) Chair Ronald Cardema to install himself as the party-list representative of Duterte Youth, Kontra Daya calls on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to disclose publicly all pending petitions for substitution of party-list representatives.

Were it not for the timely information provided by concerned citizens, the public would not know the 11th hour decision of the five original nominees of Duterte Youth to withdraw so that Cardema can substitute himself as the party-list group’s first nominee.

Again, it is to the credit of the more critical and vigilant citizens that we learned about Cardema still exercising his functions as NYC Chair days after the May 13 elections even if he is supposedly deemed resigned for abandoning his post on May 12, 5:30 p.m. when the petition for substitution was reportedly filed with the COMELEC.

It is bad enough that Cardema insists that he is qualified even if he is already overaged as a youth sector representative. What makes things worse is his penchant for character assassination and logical evasion when faced with criticisms over not just the legality but also the propriety of his actions.

While Cardema and the Duterte Youth deserve to incur the public’s ire, the COMELEC deserves to be called out for not being as transparent as it should be in disclosing relevant information to the public.

With the proclamation of the 51 party-list groups from where the 61 party-list representatives in the 18th Congress will come, the COMELEC should state categorically if there are other withdrawals and substitutions that happened. Given the current lack of transparency, the people cannot help but suspect that it is not only Cardema who has resorted to a backdoor route in getting a party-list seat in the House of Representatives.

At this point, it is imperative for COMELEC to publish all withdrawals and substitutions of party-list nominees, giving the opportunity for concerned groups and individuals to intervene and oppose if necessary.

Contact person: Danilo Arao, convenor, Kontra Daya

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