Kontra Daya lead convenor Danilo Arao (screengrab from ABS-CBN’s Failon Ngayon)

While celebrating the Commission on Election (Comelec) First Division’s decision to junk the nomination of Ronald Cardema as representative of the Duterte Youth party-list, a poll watchdog reminds the public to remain vigilant as Cardema and his supporters could appeal the decision before the Comelec en banc.

In a statement, Kontra Daya lead convenor Danilo Arao said their group welcomes the Comelec First Division’s decision to disqualify Cardema as first nominee of Duterte Youth party-list saying Cardema “gets what he deserves”.

He said, Cardema’s 11th-hour petition to be recognized as the group’s official nominee “makes a mockery of the party-list system.”

“It gives prospective party-list groups, particularly those backed by the rich and powerful, to field dummy nominees who could be subject to last-minute substitution,” he said

Cardema, who is also the chairman of the Kabataan for Bongbong Movement, a youth organization supporting Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was not one of the group’s original nominees, which included his wife, Ducielle Marie.  The original nominees resigned for fear of debating “leftist party-lists”, according to Cardema.

“Cardema’s legal acrobatics also insult the intelligence of the Comelec officials because he claims not to be covered by the age requirement for sectoral youth representatives on the premise that he claims to champion not just the youth but also the professionals. Aside from being overaged, however, he does not have a clear track record for being an advocate of such sectors.”

Arao calls on the people to remain vigilant as Cardema and his supporters could appeal the First Division’s decision before the Comelec en banc.

“Kontra Daya stresses the importance of public pressure at this time when Cardema and his ilk try to make a mockery of the already bastardized party-list system and to reduce the Comelec into an extension of Malacañan Palace to which the Duterte Youth blindly throws its support,” he said.

The Comelec was heavily criticized for permitting for approving the substitution bid of Cardema.  Critics and election lawyers say Cardema’s moves violated the Comelec’s very own rules.  (Rommel F. Lopez)