By Keith Calayag
Former National Youth Commission chief and now Duterte Youth Chair Ronald Cardema has accused Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon and a congresswoman of extortion for allegedly asking from him favors and the amount of P2 million for the approval of the Duterte Youth Partylist’s accreditation.
“Noong hapon ng January 16 tumawag ‘yung emisaryo ni Commissioner Guanzon ang sinabi nila, ‘Mr. Cardema, maa-approve lang yang Duterte Youth ‘pag meron kang majority kasama si Commissioner Guanzon.’ Meron silang hininging pabor at pera satin.”
According to Cardema, Guanzon, through the emissary, who is a congresswoman specifically asked for a position in the government.
“Tumawag siya sa akin, pinaliwanag niya sa akin ‘yung hiling ni Commissioner Guanzon. Kung anong kapalit para aprubahan…”
“Appointment ng isang attorney para maging RTC (Regional Trial Court) judge ng Iloilo; ‘yung isa maging regional director ng DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highway). Siyempre anong sabi ko, ‘yes po, hingin ko po profile with CV nila ma’am, letter applying ma’am, ilakad ko agad ma’am’.”
Cardema refused to disclose the name of the congresswoman but he said “kilala sa Congress ‘yan, babae. ‘Yan ang taga-deal ni Commissioner Guanzon sa Kongreso.”
Cardema appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte, the Supreme Court and the Comelec commissioners to look into his allegations against Guanzon.
“Ginigipit kami ni Commissioner Guanzon. Kami ay nananawagan sa pangulo, sa Korte Suprema kay Chairman (Sheriff) Abas sa mga commissioners ng Comelec tulungan niyo po kami sa panggigipit, sa panggagantso ng inyong kasamahan sa gobyerno.”
“Hindi po kami pinapaupo dahil hindi po namin maibigay ang mga hinihingi na under the table.”
In a Twitter post, Guanzon denied the allegations of Cardema.
“Cardema held a presscon accusing me of demanding a favor in exchange for registration of his Partylist? Didn’t I vote yes to the registration of his Partylist? How come no judge related to me was appointed?”
“A friendly advise to Cardema. He should study his case and get good lawyer,” she also said.
During the press conference, Cardema said the supposed unending allegations of Guanzon has prompted him to speak up even amid a gag order.
“Walang tigil ‘yung banat sa atin kaya lang out of respect sa Comelec ‘di natin sinasagot ‘yung mga tawag ng media. Kaya lang nagsalita na nga si Commissioner Guanzon, ‘I would like to hear Ronald Cardema answer ‘yung mga accusations [sa kaniya]’ so I think that is a permission from her,” he said.
Cardema also denied that Duterte Youth is behind the death threats Guanzon is receiving, adding that he even volunteered to report the death threats against the commissioner to the National Bureau of Investigation.
“Paano mo ite-threaten ‘yung tao na hawak ka sa leeg? Paano mo ite-threaten ‘yung tao na pinagbabawalan ka magsalita?”
Guanzon, who has been very consistent in her stand on Cardema’s bid for a congressional seat, has accused the Duterte Youth of sending her death threats.
The lady commissioner said this could be a ground for the cancellation of the partylist’s accreditation.
The Comelec recently cancelled the nomination of 34-year-old Cardema as Duterte Youth representative as the law requires youth sector nominees to be from ages 25 up to 30 years old.
Despite this, Duterte Youth nominated anew Cardema as its first nominee.
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