By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division is set to conduct a hearing on Tuesday, June 11, on the petitions opposing the bid of former National Youth Commission Chair Ronald Cardema to become the substitute nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list.
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said Cardema and all parties in the case were already sent notices for the hearing set at 1 p.m. in Intramuros, Manila.
Asked if Cardema was required to personally attend the hearing, she replied: If he doesn’t (attend), it’s his loss.
Poll lawyer George Garcia,meantime, explained that a respondent to a case was not required to attend Comelec hearings.
“Legally, there is no requirement for the respondent to attend and be present in the hearings. All they have to do is issue an SPA (special power of attorney),” he said.
“If I were his lawyer, I would advise him to attend the hearing as the court may have questions that would need him to personally answer them. It will be helpful to his case if he will be there personally,” added Garcia.
Cardema earlier filed a motion to become substitute nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list after his wife Ducielle Marie Suarez, Duterte Youth’s first nominee, withdrew her acceptance to the nomination of the group along with the four other nominees of the party-list.
Since then, petitions have been filed at the Comelec, questioning his qualification as a youth sector representative since he is already 34 years old.
Under the law, a nominee of the youth sector should be at least 25 years old but not more than 30 years of age on Election Day.
It was last week when the Comelec en banc gave due course to the substitution bid of Duterte Youth, upon recommendations of its Law Department.