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Ronald Cardema thinks Duterte Youth needs his debating skills

Ronald Cardema thinks Duterte Youth needs his debating skills

It has been a week since the 2019 midterm elections, but the political hullaballoo continues to unfold. Aside from the irregularities of the automated elections, there’s also the issue of former National Youth Commission chair Ronald Cardema’s substitution bid to be the representative of the Duterte Youth, a right-wing group vying for a party-list seat in Congress.

Yesterday, CNN Philippines reported that COMELEC approved Cardema’s substitution bid. “Nakahabol naman siya, ang issue lang doon is whether or not nakahabol ang substitution niya,” COMELEC chair Sheriff Abas told the news outlet. However, a report from ABS-CBN clarifies that COMELEC hasn’t decided on the matter yet.

COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon tweeted earlier today, “Chair Abas emphasized he signed a [resolution] giving due course to Cardema’s application for substitution but whether he is qualified is another matter.” Commissioner Guanzon also clearly stated that she will not sign the resolution.

Aside from submitting his application for substitution on a Sunday, a non-working day, his qualification to be a representative for a party-list that supposedly embodies the youth is confusing. The Party-List System Act states that youth sector representatives must be within the range of 25 to 30 years old. Cardema is 33 years old.

When probed why he applied for substitution, Cardema told ANC that his wife believed he is in the best position to represent Duterte Youth.

Alam naman ninyo, nilalabanan natin ‘tong mga maka-kaliwang grupo sa Kongreso at magaling sila mag-debate. So, kailangan ‘yung ipangtapat mong pang-debate sa kanila ay ‘yung medyo matagal na ring nakikipag-debate,” he adds. “Napag-usapan talaga nila na the best representative there for Duterte Youth, the best representative there to represent the military, the youth, the government is me.”

When asked why he made a last minute substitution bid, Cardema denied he waited for Duterte Youth to secure a seat in Congress. Cardema reiterated that Duterte Youth needs a representative who can debate with leaders from the Makabayan bloc.

Duterte Youth is a group formed to support President Rodrigo Duterte for his presidential bid in 2016. Later on, the group aimed to defend Duterte from his detractors. On Feb. 2017, they even aimed to recruit one million new members to defend Duterte from ouster plots. Cardema used to lead Duterte Youth until he was appointed as chair of the National Youth Commission in 2018.

While Duterte Youth members think the group could be a voice of change, Senator Ping Lacson expressed his dismay with Caderma and Duterte Youth. He tweeted that Cardema and Duterte Youth “are just two of the many reasons why the party-list system has become a joke.”

Well, we just hope the rule of law will prevail.

Header image courtesy of  Inquirer

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