By Ben Rosario
The Duterte Youth, not controversial former National Youth Council Chairman Ronaldo Cardema, is the acknowledged member of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI), which became the target of a supposedly “unfair criticism” hurdled by Commission on Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.
Kabayan Partylist Rep. Ron Salo made the clarification as Guanzon assailed the PCFI for allowing Cardema to attend its meetings although his bid to represent Duterte youth was still the subject of an election protest.
Cardema, who was seen attending an organizational meeting of the PCFI held weeks before the opening of the 18th Congress, was later disqualified by Guanzon’s Comelec division from representing the partylist group he helped organize.
Guanzon questioned Cardema’s presence in the PCFI meetings, saying that there was no basis for him to be recognized as a partylist congressman.
“If they would still do that, they will be contradicting the authority of the Comelec,” said the Comelec official.
Appearing at the weekly Partylist Forum held moments before Guanzon publicly chided the PCFI, Salo said Cardema has not been recognized by the PCFI as the representative of Duterte Youth in the 18th Congress.
He pointed out that the House of Representatives has likewise not accepted any of Cardema’s credentials to represent his partylist organization.
Salo stressed that the PCFI acknowledges the partylist organization, and not its representative as a member of the group, the second-largest political bloc in the Lower House.
Headed by 1PACMAN Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero, the PCFI called for an organizational meeting two months ago that was participated in by Cardema.
A PCFI senior member said Cardema was never acknowledged as a member of their group because of the pending Comelec case filed against him.
“Commissioner Guanzon may have been misled into believing that Mr. Cardema has been accepted PCFI member,” said the PCFI source.