Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon denounced former National Youth Chair Ronald Cardema’s extortion allegations against her in a series of tweets amid a brewing word war between them.
These developments came after Guanzon accused Cardema’s camp of issuing threats against her.
Cardema previously claimed that Guanzon sent an emissary, whom he did not name, to make the following demands to the Duterte Youth party-list — Php2 million, appointment of a lawyer as a regional trial court judge in Iloilo and another one as regional director in Negros.
Cardema shed tears while stating them during Duterte Youth’s assembly in Quezon City on August 17.
Guanzon, for her part, denied the allegations and questioned why she would make these demands in the first place.
“He fabricated that. It is easy to get a list of applicants from Negros or Iloilo. They thought I am from Iloilo, I am from Negros,” she said.
“Why, is he the president? Can he appoint a judge … If I want someone appointed, I will ask someone else, not him,” she added.
Moreover, she clapped back on Twitter that Cardema should hire a “good lawyer” instead.
— Rowena V. Guanzon (@commrguanzon) August 17, 2019
Guanzon also went on to assert that Cardema is only intimidating her to reverse her vote on his bid to represent Duterte Youth, an appeal that had been disqualified due to misrepresentation of Cardema’s age.
“Before it was death threats, now extortion. Ano sunod, impeachment?” she said, referring to the text messages she claimed to receive lately. She suspected these came from Cardema’s camp.
“All intimidation tactics to coerce me to reverse my vote. Again, friendly advise, study your case and get a good lawyer. But you can’t change your date of birth,” she added.
Guanzon further pointed out that Duterte Youth is not even composed of young people, which was also a form of misrepresentation as a youth-related party list.
On August 18, she quipped: “Why will I extort money from him or anyone? I don’t need it. I am richer than Cardema for sure.”
why will I extort money from him or anyone? I don't need it. I am richer than Cardema for sure. https://t.co/pdGcciXQYa
— Rowena V. Guanzon (@commrguanzon) August 18, 2019
Cardema filed a last-minute substitution appeal to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to replace his wife, who was the first nominee, and four others to represent Duterte Youth.
Last June, the poll body approved the withdrawal of the five initial nominees and then be replaced by Cardema and four others.
Guanzon was the lone dissenter in this ruling. Commissioner Luie Tito Guia, meanwhile, abstained from it.
On August 5, Cardema was disqualified through a vote of 2-0 of the Comelec’s First Division.
“Respondent (Cardema) is aware that he is already 34 years old and thus committed falsity when he misrepresented that he is eligible for nomination by Duterte Youth despite not possessing the age qualification provided by law for representatives of the youth sector,” the agency said.
Per Comelec Resolution 3307-A, the age limit to lead a youth-related party-list is 30 years old.
The messages in both cases bore no indications on who sent them.
Malacanang, meanwhile, distanced itself from the feud.
“If he (Cardema) has a corruption charge, he should file charges. He doesn’t have to go to news media (to talk) about it… File cases. Why does he have to drag the Palace to it?” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“We don’t have anything to do with what he is doing. We will not intrude into anything that does not concern the Palace so that’s between him and Commissioner Guanzon,” Panelo added.—Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos