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Republic of the Philippines COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS Intramuros, Manila IN MATTER OF WITHDRAWAL WITH SUBSTITUTION OF ALL THE NOMINEES OF DUTERTE YOUTH PARTY-LIST Baca ~ x DISSENTING OPINION I vote to deny due course to the Certificates of Nomination and Acceptance (“CONA”) of Ronald Gian Carlo L. Cardema (“Cardema”), Gian Carlo P. Galang (“Galang”), Catherine R. Santos (“Santos”), Kerwin M. Pagaran (Pagaran”), Sharah Shan Makabali, and Allan Kevin C. Payawal (collectively, “Substitute Nominees”). 1am of the view that the Substitute-Nominees failed to timely file their CONAs and that they do not meet the age requirement prescribed under Section 9 of Republic Act No. 7941 (“R.A. No. 7941”) for nominees of the Youth Sector. The CONA of the Substitute Nominees of Duterte Youth were not filed according to Asa rule, pleadings, motions, notices, and all other documents may be filed before the Law Department of the Commission, the Clerk of the Commission, or the Electoral Contest Adjudication Department only during the office hours of regular working days. COMELEC Resolution No. 8665 provides: In order to give ample time to the offices/departments of the Commission directly involved the various pleadings including the corresponding legal fees to collate/file numerous documents; and, further, to discourage/avoid last minute rush filing of said pleadings by parties, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to fix the schedule of filing of petitions, motions, answers, and all other pleadings and relevant documents in connection with election related cases filed before the office of the Clerk of the Commission, Law Department, and Electoral Contest Adjudication Department, including payment of corresponding Page 2 of 8 Dissenting Opinion legal fees at the cash division, ASD, from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, excluding holidays. Where a deadline falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, official transactions shall be done on the next working day. However, the rule is not absolute. Section 4 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9366 provides for a clear exception, thus: SEC. 4, Withdrawal of nomination or acceptance of nomination. Withdrawal of nominations or acceptance of nominations shall be in writing and under oath, and filed with the Law Department of the Commission in Manila before the close of polls. XXX The way Section 4 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9366 is worded leaves no doubt as to the intent of the Commission to set the deadline of withdrawal or acceptance of nominations before the close of polls ‘on Election Day. Thus, notwithstanding COMELEC Resolution No. 8665 and the fact that Election Days are legal holidays, the deadline to withdraw or accept nominations, insofar as party-list nominees are concerned, remains. Likewise, to avoid unduly shortening the time within which an interested party may file his or her respective acceptance or withdrawal, the Commission allows the filing of such acceptance or withdrawal during Election Day. The original nominees of Duterte Youth filed their Notice of Withdrawal on Sunday, 12 May 2019. On even date, the new nominees of the party filed their Notice of Substitution also at around 5:30 PM: COMELEC Resolution No, 9836 neither allows nor prohibits the nominees from filing their notices of acceptance or withdrawal on a Sunday. In fact, such Resolution is completely silent on the matter. Thus, the general rule laid down in COMELEC Resolution No. 8665 must be applied As discussed above, COMELEC Resolution No. 8665 proscribes filing of documents outside regular office hours of regular working days. Clearly the filing of the notices of withdrawal and the CONAs of the Substitute Nominees was attended by glaring procedural anomalies. The filing of the notices of withdrawal and the substitutes’ CONAs on a prohibited day renders the said filing irregular and illegal. As such the Commission cannot recognize the existence of and give legal effect to the said filing. It was as if no such notices Page 3 of 8 Dissenting Opinion were filed at all. To consider that the said notices were filed within the hours and days prescribed by COMELEC Resolution No. 8665 would render the very resolution inutile. Indeed, if parties can simply file documents beyond office hours and then have them considered as having been filed on the following working day, the very purpose why COMELEC Resolution No. 8665 was even promulgated would be defeated Nevertheless, even assuming that the CONAs of the Substitute- Nominees were regularly filed, the same still must be denied due course in view of the Substitute Nominees’ ineligibility Duterte Youth was granted registration as a sectoral party representing the Youth Sector. In its Petition, Duterte Youth described the character, nature, and status of its organization as a youth group which advocates and represents the youth sector: 6. The DUTERTE YOUTH is the leading and most vocal youth group in the Philippines... . When many of today’s youth organizations in the country are active in rallying against the government, . . . and even the only youth party-list now in the Philippine Congress, the Kabataan Party-List, is known for its mobilization for anti-government activities and in further orienting the youth on how to support and join the armed rebellion, the DUTERTE YOUTH is here to strongly advocate for the orientation and mobilization of the millions of Filipino Youth to become disciplined, nationalistic, and to become great visionary leaders for their communities, for our generation, and for our A api nation, The DUTERTE YOUTH . . . will be the COMELEC on its voter education advocacies for thé youth) and will be the direct partners of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in uplifting the millions of Filipino Youth and Young Professionals, which is now the so-called millennial generation of our nation. 7. The DUTERTE YOUTH is recognized ... as their direct youth partner in advocating, against illegal drugs & criminality among youth communities. Several Governors, Congressmen, and Mayors have already partnered with the Duterte Youth in its strong nation- building advocacy for the Filipino Youth Sie teed reporters have recognized DUTERTE YOUTH as thé youth group YA 744) that they can contact and feature for news the youth gree De fant nation-building programs for the youth...” Underscoring and emphasis supplied.