By Rommel F. Lopez
Duterte Youth’s Ronald Cardema (left) and Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon (right) – (PNA photos)
Disqualified Duterte Youth party-list nominee Ronald Cardema blasted Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Rowena Guanzon for playing victim insisting instead that the party-list is the real victim whose nomination is allegedly being held hostage by Guanzon in exchange of political favors.
The former chair of the National Youth Commission presented screen grabs of mobile phone messages of his exchanges with an alleged member of Congress whom he claimed was an “emissary” of Guanzon.
The images with blurred names showed the “emissary” supposedly relaying requests from Guanzon to have certain people appointed various regional trial court and public works department posts. Cardema said he eagerly agreed to the requests in exchange for an assurance that he would win his disqualification cases at the Comelec.
However, the 34-year old Cardema claimed that the requested favors were too much for him to secure and that Guanzon has now resorted to publicly harassing him and his party.
“Pinapalabas niya [Guanzon] na siya ang biktima. [Pero sa totoo] kami sa Duterte Youth ang biktima,” Cardema said during a press conference in Eton Centris Elements Tent in Quezon City.
“Akala ng lahat, siya ‘yung pinakamatinong Comelec Commissioner pero siya ‘yung maraming hinihingi…. Hirap na hirap na kami, hindi namin maibigay. At ’tong nanalo kami at hindi namin naibigay, hanggang proclamation day hinahabol,” Cardema said
He also denied being behind the threats to the life of the Comelec commissioner claiming they are not out looking for a fight against the Commission.
“‘Yung mga threats napaka-imposible nun, hawak kami sa leeg ng ilang buwan. Hindi namin sila inaaway,” he said.
Guanzon immediately answered Cardema via Twitter on Saturday, saying she would not be intimidated into inhibiting in the case.
She earlier said that she had been receiving death threats as soon as the decision to disqualify Cardema came out.
“Whether or not he is directly involved for this, I feel that Mr. Cardema should come out to the public and deny it because I want to hear him answer my accusation that his group or gang are threatening harm to myself and members of my family,” Guanzon said.
Guanzon was the acting presiding commissioner of the Comelec First Division which handled the petition to disqualify Cardema case since the division chairman, Al Parreño, was out on official business.
The Comelec First Division nullified Cardema’s nomination to be Duterte Youth’s party-list representative due to “material misrepresentation,” which under Comelec Resolution No. 9366 is a ground for cancelation of a nomination.
This prevents Cardema from sitting as a representative of the Duterte Youth in the 18th Congress. The party-list won one house seat in the 2019 mid-term elections.
Cardema has already filed a motion to reconsider its cancellation of his nomination as the party’s first nominee before the Comelec en banc.