House partylist group accepts Cardema as official nominee of Duterte Youth

By Ben Rosario

The Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) has brushed aside the controversy hounding former National Youth Commission Chairman Ronald Cardema and has accepted him as member of the organization of elected partylist representatives in the country.

Cardema has been recognized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as first nominee of the Duterte Youth partylist after the original set of five nominees resigned en masse apparently to give way to his nomination.

COMELEC Commissioners Al Parreño and Rowena Guanzon pose for photos with former NYC-chair Ronald Cardema during the proclamation of winning partylist at the PICC in Manila. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN) COMELEC Commissioners Al Parreño (left) and Rowena Guanzon (2nd from right) pose for photos with former NYC-chair Ronald Cardema (2nd from left) during the proclamation of winning partylist at the PICC in Manila. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

It will be a done deal for Cardema’s dream of becoming a member of the Lower House as soon as he takes his oath of office as before the Speaker of the chamber.

PCFI president and 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Miichael Romero said the organization of partylist congressmen has recognized Cardema as a member.

Romero explained that Comelec’s acknowledgement of Cardema’s substitution as top Duterte Youth nominee prompted the PCFI to accept his membership to the organization.

The incoming solon has become the object of viral social media hate post following the belated substitution done by his partylist organization.

The five original Duterte Youth nominees, including Cardema’s wife, Ducielle, resigned two days before the May 13 elections.  Simultaneously, the former NYC chairman was substituted as top nominee.

Critics decried the move, pointing out that Cardema crept into the top nominee post when it became clear that the partylist organization will make it to Congress.
Other haters claimed Cardema, who is an expelled cadet of the Philippine Military Academy, is overaged for the position of youth representative.  He is now 34 years old.

The progressive Kabataan Partylist  called Cardema’s actions as “opportunistic” and could be considered as a bad example of how youth leaders must act.

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 The Manila Bulletin.

In a statement issued Friday, Kabataan Partylist, a member of the Makabayan bloc in the Lower House, claimed that unlike the Duterte Youth, it was “a genuinte 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 Comelec count.

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

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 an 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 had 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. #MatalinongBoto2019