Young but not young enough. This is the observation of former officials of the National Youth Commission in questioning chairperson Ronald Cardema’s move to become the first nominee of Duterte Youth at the House of Representatives.
Former chairperson Leon Flores III shared this statement on Facebook on June 11. Actor Dingdong Dantes and singer Aiza Seguerra, who are also former NYC chairs, are among the signatories.
Speaking from across rival political parties, the former NYC leaders oppose Cardema and four others who asked the Commission on Elections to substitution the registered nominees for the party-list supposedly representing the youth sector.
They argued that Cardema may not be genuine in representing the well-being and rights of the youth as they are too old, according to law.
“The application for accreditation of Duterte Youth as a party-list which purportedly lacked certain requirements, the succeeding notices of withdrawal and the applications for substitution, upon the admission of COMELEC’s own dissenting Commissioners, are deemed to be fraught with irregularities and ‘attended by glaring procedural anomalies,’” part of the statement read.
“This circumvention of electoral laws and the extraordinary accommodations to non-members of the youth sector effectively disenfranchise the very sector they seek to represent,” it added.
They also cited Section 9 of Republic Act 7941 or The Party-List Act in terms of youth representation wherein:
“In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be 25 but not more than 30 years of age on the day of the election.”
Cardema and the four substitutes are older than the prescribed age.
Aside from age, Cardema’s request also goes against several provisions of Comelec Resolution 3307-A that contains the rules and regulations on nominees of party-list representatives.
Given that Duterte Youth is a “youth-championing party-list,” its nominees should conform to all the qualifications required by election law.
NYC’s former commissioners and chairpersons, therefore, called on the dismissal of Cardema’s application to chair the right-wing group.
“We, former Chairpersons and Commissioners of the National Youth Commission (NYC), call for the outright dismissal of the applications of Duterte Youth Chairman Ronald Cardema and four others submitted as substitute nominees for Duterte Youth party-list,” their statement said.
Other signatories of the document are Gio Tingson, Perci Vilar Cendana, JP Peñol, and Erwin Chua Andaya.
Dantes previously aired his opinion on Twitter against Cardema’s last-minute nominee application.
The actor released the series of tweets as part of the responses on a news report on Twitter.
On the side of Comelec
The Commission on Elections accepted Cardema’s appeal despite the legal issues surrounding it.
The lone dissenter in the decision was Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, while Commissioner Luie Tito Guia was not present to vote on the decision.
Over 10 petitions from various groups were lodged against the decision to allow the Duterte Youth nominees to shift. This prompted the Comelec to ask that Duterte Youth nominees first justify that they are not too old to represent young people.
“You would think that, which is why we are just waiting for [the Comelec en banc] to come up with a resolution, so hopefully we can have that resolution out very soon,” poll body spokesperson James Jimenez said.
“These are questions that we should ask them. In fact, they’re the ones that put the ‘youth’ in their name, right? So, that’s something that they have to vindicate,” he added.