SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND ADVOCACY NETWORK CALLS FOR REVAMP AND RESIGNATION IMMEDIATE OF COMELEC COMMISSIONERS
Quezon City, Philippines – A social development and advocacy network has recently issued a statement calling for the revamp and resignation of Commission on Elections (COMELEC) officials as a reaction, to what it calls as an ever growing display of incompetence of the COMELEC in pursuing its mandate, especially with the recent abominable decision to give a green light to the midnight substitution bid of Ronald Cardema, former Chairman of National Youth Commission to assume the representation of the party-list Duterte Youth.
“The COMELEC should be revamped. And urgently so, those who voted in favor of the midnight substitution of the Duterte Youth party representative, should resign. This decision is another blatant display of lack of competence in their decision making, and adds to their already dismal performance in managing the mid-term 2019 election,” Yoly Esguerra, Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) reiterated.
PMPI believes that the COMELEC decision is flawed. There were two obvious reasons why the ruling of the COMELEC should have been otherwise. First, Ronald Cardema is already 34 years old, and under Republic Act (RA) No. 7941, Section 9, he or she must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. Second, Cardema filed his notice of substitution at 5:30 P.M. on May 12, Sunday, contrary to Resolution No. 8665, which prescribes the filing of pleadings or motions only during office hours on regular work days.
By these two glaring facts alone, an independent institution like the COMELEC should have decided against it. Even ordinary citizens can understand that these reasons are clearly a blatant disregard of an election rules as prescribed, the statement added.
Party List System bastardized by COMELEC
The party-list system was established through RA 7941 or Party-List System Act, it was meant to give voice and representation for those who are underrepresented sectors or groups such as in labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous culture, women, youth, and other sectors.
We in PMPI in fact hailed it then as a step to give voice to “voiceless” section of society where they can bring their issues on the legislative table and push for solutions and protection of their rights.
Throughout the years however, we saw the system being bastardized and abused by no less than the COMELEC themselves as many party lists were which does not really represent the marginalized were approved by the COMELEC.
That the COMELEC decided in favor of legitimizing the Duterte Youth as party list whose main goal only is to support and protect the President Duterte shows lack of appreciation and understanding of the spirit of party list system.
The PMPI calls for the resignation of the five COMELEC commissioners who approved the substitution bid of former NYC Chairman Ronald Cardema as the first nominee of Duterte Youth party-list.
We continue to ask, by their recent actions, who do they seek to please and obey? Why Ronald Cardema remained in government offices during the election and then suddenly change mind on the eve of May 12, the day before the election? Who benefits from retaining a position in government where you have access to government resources during election? Is this not a strategy to go around the rule that all government officials who will run in an election should resign from office? Who engineered this strategy and who will gain and benefit from this decision?
“We need a COMELEC that would uphold their own internal rules and regulations and one that can manage a national election without a 7 hours snags in electoral result, and who can explain this gaffes in public and with transparency. We don’t need blind followers. We don’t need more stamp pads. They are too many already in this government,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabllo, PMPI NCR-Urban Cluster Bishop Convenor said.
Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI), is a network of civil society organizations, rights groups, peace and faith-based institutions pushing for policy change in governance and helping communities achieved better lives.