The Commission on Elections (Comelec) clarified that it has approved the application for substitution, and not the substitution, of the five new nominees of Duterte Youth Partylist which include former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema, as the party’s first nominee.

Comelec Commissioner Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon clarified that the three-page Minute Resolution No. 19-0568, promulgated on June 3 but was only released on Tuesday afternoon, did not granted the group’s substitution, but has given due course to the application for substitution.

“Re: Cardema Not the substitution but his application for substitution was given due course. His substitution is not yet granted because there is a pending petition or opposition on the ground that he is over 30 years old and cannot be a representative of a youth sector party-list,” she said in her Twitter account, @commrguanzon, correcting Tweets that announced that Comelec has allowed Cardema to substitute for the said party-list group.

Voting 5-1-1, the poll body in a resolution, promulgated on June 3 granted the Notice of Withdrawal with substitution filed by the group on May 12, a day before the May 13, mid-term polls.

“The Commission resolved, as it hereby resolves, to adopt the recommendation of the Law Department, on the Withdrawal with Substitution of all the Nominees of Duterte Youth Party-list in connection with the 2019 National and Local Elections, as follows: To grant the withdrawals of the Certificate of Acceptance of Nomination of: Ducielle Marie D. Suarez, Joseph M. de Guzman, Benilda C. de Guzman, Arnaldo B. Villafranca, Elizabeth Anne F. Cardema,” the decision said.

It noted that the reasons given by original five nominees for withdrawing their nominations from the group are in compliance with the law.

“Upon evaluation, we find the Withdrawals of the Certificate of Acceptance of Nomination with Substitution of all the Nominees of Duterte Youth, with their respective reasons of such withdrawals in compliance with Section 8 of Republic Act (RA) 7941 and Sections 4 and 5, Rule 4 of Resolution No. 9366,” the Comelec said.

The following are the original nominees and their reasons for withdrawal:

Ducielle Marie D. Suarez, Cardema’s wife and Nominee No. 1, as she can no longer fulfill the expectations set forth by the party not able to fulfill her obligations; Joseph M. De Guzman, Nominee No. 2, as he sees himself working unnoticed and supporting the political stance of the party away from public opinion; Benilda C. De Guzman, Nominee No. 3, as her passion for teaching is something she treasures the most.

Arnaldo B. Villafranca, Nominee No. 4, as he wishes to fulfill his obligation to his family under normal and ordinary ways of living where privacy and familial life is being maintained and Elizabeth Anne F. Cardema, Nominee No. 5, as employment opportunities abroad where (she) can join (her) relatives and friends.

As for the new nominees, the Minute Resolution has accepted the application of substitution of Cardema and four others.

“To give due course to the nomination of the following new nominees as substitute: Ronald Gian Carlo L. Cardema, Gian Carlo Galang, Catherine R. Santos, Kerwin M. Pagaran and Sharah Shane T. Makabali,” the Comelec said.

At the same time, the decision denied the nomination of Allan Kevin C. Payawal as the 6th Nominee because the original Nominees are only 5.

Those who voted to grant the Notice of Withdrawal with Substitution are: Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas, Commissioners Al Parreno, Socorro Inting, Marlon Casquejo and Antonio Kho, Jr. while Commissioners Guanzon, and Luie Tito Guia, dissented & abstained, respectively.

Duterte Youth party-list garnered 354,629 votes in the last May 13 mid-term polls, which guaranteed them to a seat in the House of Representatives. (PNA)