As Comelec decides his fate, Cardema eyes impeachment case vs Guanzon

MANILA, Philippines – As the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has yet to decide on the fate Ronald Cardema's congressional bid, the embattled Duterte Youth chairman said he would consider filing an impeachment complaint against poll commissioner Rowena Guanzon.

He didn't cite any grounds for a complaint nor offered proof of any impeachable offense committed by the commissioner, who had voted against his party list nomination. 

"Sa impeachment complaint, kung may tutulong sa amin, bakit hindi?.... Sa tingin ko meron pang inagrabyado 'to, di lang kami, sa 'tinagal-tagal na niya. Meron pa ngang mga kumausap sa amin na pati sila dinali nito dati," Cardema said in an interview with ANC Monday, August 19.

(On an impeachment complaint, if others will help us, why not? I think there are more people who have been victimized by her; not just us, she's been there for a long time. Others told us they were also victimized.)

In the same breath, Cardema said Duterte Youth was also eyeing to file criminal charges against Guanzon over alleged extortion for political favors. Guazon is part of the Comelec 1st division, which earlier ruled to cancel Cardema's nomination after he was found to be unqualified to sit as representative of the youth sector in Congress. (READ: Stretching the rules: Duterte Youth's bid for Congress)

Cardema had earlier presented mobile phone screen grabs which he said was an exchange of messages between him and a purported member of Congress whom he claimed was an “emissary” of Guanzon.

Asked why he would be approached, Cardema pointed to Guanzon's appointment as a poll commissioner by former president Benigno Aquino III as he accused her of wanting access to President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Itong commissioner ito ay hindi appointee ng administrasyon na ito. [Why would she approach?] Para naman makalapit siya sa Presidente o sa mga nakapalibot sa presidente.... I was an appointee of the President, hindi naman sa Presidente ako makalapit pero sa ibang malapit rin sa Presidente," Cardema said.

(This commissioner was not an appointee of the administration.... [Why would she approach you?] To get close to the President or those around him. I was an appointee of the President, I may not get close to the President but to those around him.)

Guanzon, an independent voice in the Comelec even during the Aquino administration, has been consistent in her stand on Cardema's bid. She had raised questions on his nomination and was the lone dissenter in the Comelec ruling that decided to give due course to Cardema's application for substitution as a nominee of his group.

Malacañang, meanwhile, distanced itself from the Duterte Youth chair, saying it doesn't want anything to do with Cardema's battle against Guanzon. (READ: Palace to Duterte Youth's Cardema: Why drag us in your fight vs Guanzon?)

Responding to the allegations, Guanzon dismissed Cardema's claims as nothing more than a publicity stunt. On Monday, the feisty poll commissioner had upped the ante on their word war as she tweeted his moves were "out of spite because he lost his dream of having millions in pork barrel funds."

I told you he will an impeachment complaint . Is it a betrayal of public trust to declare him DQ because he is overaged? all his moves are out of spite because he lost his dream of having millions in pork barrel funds. pic.twitter.com/PDoOviBro4 — Rowena V. Guanzon (@commrguanzon) August 19, 2019

"All I'm saying is this Cardema is a liar and a name dropper," Guanzon added in an interview with ANC.

The Comelec 1st Division earlier cancelled Cardema's nomination after ruling he was ineligible to serve as a youth representative, who must be 25 to 30 years old on the day of the elections on May 13.

Cardema has since filed a motion for reconsideration asking the Comlec en banc to reconsider the cancellation of his nomination as the party's first nominee.

Asked by a Twitter user on Monday afternoon for her reaction to Cardema's threat, Guanzon said: "tell him go ahead so he has to admit that he attempted to bribe me through someone else. make my day." – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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