By Jeffrey Damicog
Former National Youth Commission (NYC) Chair Ronald Cardema is in hot water over allegations that he still continued to hold on to his post even after submitting his nomination as representative of the Duterte Youth party-list.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo has directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the transgression considering that Cardema is deemed to have resigned once he becomes a party-list nominee.
“Sec. Sal Panelo requested the DOJ this morning to look into this matter and evaluate if charges may be filed against Ronald Cardema,” said Guevarra on Tuesday (May 21).
“The DOJ will start by gathering the relevant facts,” he added.
Panelo had disclosed that he received a complaint alleging that Cardema held a meeting with NYC officials last May 15, days after his supposed resignation from office.
A day before the May 13 midterm elections, the Duterte Youth filed on May 12 its Notice of Withdrawal of its five nominees along with the party-list’s Petition for Substitution and the Certificates of Nomination and Acceptance. Cardema was named by the party-list as its new nominee.
However, a group of petitioners led by Kontra Daya convener Danilo Arao has filed an opposition which told the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that Cardema is unqualified to become a youth representative.
“A review of relevant laws on the qualifications of party-list nominees representing the youth sector would show that substitute nominee Cardema … has no qualification to be a nominee particularly by reason of his age,” read the opposition.
Since the Duterte Youth declared its representation for the youth sector, the petitioners reminded Republic Act (RA) 7941, also known as the Party-List System Act, states that the nominee for the youth sector must be “at least twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election.”
“For the record, his age is thirty-three (33) years old, obviously beyond the age cut-off prescribed in the law,” the petitioners pointed out.
“As such, the Petition filed by Duterte Youth Party-List should be outrightly denied by the Honorable Commission on Elections En Banc,” they stressed.
The other oppositors are National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) spokesperson Raoul Danniel Manuel, College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) secretary-general Paula Sabrine Janer, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny convener Raainah Punzalan, University of the Philippines (UP) student regent Ivy Joy Taroma, and Tindig-University of Sto. Tomas chairperson Calvin Pierre James Almazan.