By Ben Rosario
Partylist colleagues have started to doubt the credibility of disqualified Duterte Youth nominee Ronald Cardema.
Rep.Eric Go Yap (ACT CIS Partylist) and Claudine Bautista (Dumper PTDA) said Cardema should present solid evidence to back his claim that a member of the House of Representatives played a vital role in the alleged extortion attempt on him by Commission on Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.
Cardema had insisted that Guanzon tried to extort P2 million from him through the congresswoman who acted as the election official’s emissary.
Yap said he is not convinced that a House member will put her reputation on the line for P2 million that will benefit a third person.
“For me, the congresswoman is unlikely to join the issue for that P2 million. It’s hard to believe that a congresswoman would serve as a middleman, not for her own interest but allegedly for a commissioner? Looks like somebody’s lying,” he said in Pilipino.
Yap said that Cardema placed all 75 woman members of the Lower House under a cloud of suspicion because he refused to identify the person involved.
He described Cardema’s accusation as unfair to congresswomen in the Lower House.
Bautista, who was among the panelists in the news forum, said it would be best for Cardema to concentrate on his election case which is set to be resolved by the Comelec en banc.
Earlier, Cardema told Manila Bulletin that the lawmaker involved in the alleged extortion attempt is a regular district congressman and not a partylist member.
It will be recalled that the Comelec First Division ruled that Cardema is not eligible to represent the Duterte Youth because he is overage at age 34.
The Comelec panel cited the Partylist System Act that requires youth sector representatives to be 25 to 30 years old on the day of the elections.
However, Cardema insisted that the Comelec en banc, in an earlier decision, accredited the partylist organization as qualified to run in the May polls although some of its nominees are older than he is.
Cardema also failed to prove that he represents “young professionals” and is only advocating for the sector as he himself does not have a specified activity that can be considered an occupation.
The former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman first bared during last Saturday’s briefing that Guanzon tried to extort to P2 million from Duterte Youth — a charge that Guanzon repeatedly refuted, saying that it would be pointless to extort from “someone poorer” than her.