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Cardema must not be allowed to invoke separate rule for himself

05:01 AM May 27, 2019

I read with keen interest the recent tweet of Sen. Panfilo Lacson who said that former National Youth Commission (NYC) chair Ronald Cardema and his party list are “just two of many  reasons why the party list system has become a joke.”

Indeed, Cardema’s stunt is just one of the latest of a series of acts committed by politicians to further taint, weaken and distort what was intended to be a system that would level the playing field between the traditional, well-heeled politicians and nontraditional leaders of the so-called marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

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The prostitution of the system has been unbridled and has become a way of our political life, such that we no longer raise a serious howl when scions of seasoned politicians and billionaire-businessmen who can easily run and wage decent electoral battles in their respective congressional districts would opt to be nominees under the party list to represent their chosen sectors such as, much to our chagrin, the security guards, tricycle drivers or athletes, among others.

The party list system and the  laws and rules governing it have been circumvented many times over by various interest groups and individuals to suit their political and personal ends, that it no longer comes as a surprise to many that even some of the present breed of our youth leaders would follow suit and adopt the same subterfuge  pioneered by their senior and more seasoned counterparts.

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In the case of Cardema, while much has been said about his possible disqualification as a substitute for any  of the original nominees of his party (who reportedly withdrew their nominations at the 11th hour) on account of his age as well as the timeliness of his action for substitution, we think that the real ground for his disqualification rests on his being an appointed  public official from the start of the day of the filing of the certificates of candidacy (CoC) in October 2018 up to the eve of election day.

The law is very clear that a person holding a public position who files his CoC is considered ipso facto resigned from the office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of the CoC. This means that a candidate for an elective post must not at the same time be occupying an appointive position in government.

By analogy, a person intending to subsequently substitute an original candidate or nominee is himself a candidate or nominee who must possess the same qualifications and none of the disqualifications for the post for which he is being nominated as a substitute “at the time of the filing of the CoC” (save for the age requirement which must be reckoned as of election day).

Thus, a substitute candidate or nominee must also be bound by the rule that he must not be holding any appointive office at the time the person whom he is substituting filed his certificate. He cannot and must not be allowed to invoke a separate rule for himself.

If the party list nominee is proscribed from being such without relinquishing his appointive post at the time he files his certificate, it follows that his substitute must also not be holding any appointive position from that period up to at least the day of the elections. This is squarely in consonance with the legal doctrine that “what cannot be legally done directly cannot be done indirectly.”

Cardema evidently failed to comply with that legal requirement.

ALVIN T. CLARIDADES, [email protected]

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TAGS: 2019 elections, 2019 party-list nominees, Alvin T. Claridades, Comelec, Duterte Youth, Inquirer letters, National Youth Commission, Ronald Cardema
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