Progressive Kabataan assail pro-Duterte youth leader, vows to block bid to represent group

Published May 18, 2019, 9:14 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Ben Rosario

The progressive Kabataan Partylist yesterday chided National Youth Commission Chairman Ronald Cardema’s alleged “opportunistic” move to replace his wife as representative of the winning Duterte Youth partylist in the House of Representatives.

Cardema has reportedly filed a petition to act as a substitute for his wife, Ducielle Marie Suarez-Cardema, who resigned as the first nominee of Duterte Youth in the partylist elections. The resignation came as the pro-administration partylist group is expected to win at least one seat representation in the Lower House.

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago vowed to oppose the substitution bid, pointing out that Duterte Youth had already defaulted on this move.

Cardema, who used to work as legislative staff of several congressmen, has yet to return calls of Manila Bulletin.

In a statement issued yesterday by the Kabataan Partylist, a member of the Makabayan bloc in the Lower House, they claimed that unlike the Duterte Youth, it is “a genuine youth sectoral partylist” representative that advances the welfare of the youth in Congress.

The two partylist organizations are separated by a wide margin of votes based on the latest results of the Commission on Elections count.

The Duterte Youth placed No. 21 among the winning partylist organizations. It has garnered 346,141 votes as of press time.

On the other hand, Kabataan received 194,822 votes and is lodged at No. 50.

“With no real constituency, Duterte Youth, a bogus partylist, benefited from ineptly rigged elections at the expense of our vote and our choice,” the Kabataan stated.

The activist youth organization stated: “Moreover, Cardema has the audacity to call himself ‘pro-government’ when it’s his flagrant trapo moves, paranoia, and lies bringing shame and disservice to public office.”

“His thoughtless red-tagging is what spoils the peace process and all significant efforts to iron out the differences of the government and rebel groups by addressing the roots of armed conflict,” the group added.

The Kabataan boasted that it has a “stellar history and performance of legislative and advocacy wins” adding that these accomplishments cannot be erased by any “amount of falsehood.”

“Unlike Cardema and Duterte Youth, Kabataan speaks, never about mere adulation and false dichotomies, but based on thorough study and research, critical debate and analysis, and most importantly, our commitment to truly represent the hope of our land,” the Kabataan said.

“In its four terms, it serves to bring in new politics as it breaks away from traditional politics which has seen the Philippine elections as an instrument of the moneyed and landed elite to perpetuate themselves in power,” it stressed.