Palace tells National Youth Commission’s Cardema to step down

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Palace tells National Youth Commission�s Cardema to step down
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Cardema is considered resigned from his post when he filed the petition a day before the midterm elections on May 13.
Ronald Cardema FB Page

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday told National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema to step down after it was revealed that he had filed a petition for substitution to become the first nominee of Duterte Youth party-list.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Cardema is considered resigned from his post when he filed the petition a day before the midterm elections on May 13.

“Regardless of the outcome, we deem that Mr. Cardema has already abandoned his present position because his act of filing the petition absolutely reflects his intention to relinquish his office and exposes his desire to serve the government in a different capacity,” Panelo said in a statement. 

“The Palace therefore requires Mr. Cardema to vacate his office forthwith and turn over all official papers, documents and properties in his possession to the Office of the President,” Panelo added. 

Previous reports said Cardema, known for being critical of leftist groups, filed a petition for substitution following the withdrawal of all the nominees of Duterte Youth. 

Kabataan party-list has vowed to block Cardema’s bid as the progressive group accused him of using NYC’s public platform and resources to campaign for Duterte Youth. 

“The President shall soon appoint a person who can advance the genuine interests and welfare of our country’s youth as the new chairperson of the NYC,” Panelo said. 

Cardema was named NYC chairman on Aug. 23, 2018. He was NYC commissioner for Luzon before being appointed chairman. Cardema is also a military reservist under the National Capital Region-Regional Community Defense Group of the Army Reserve Command. 

Last February, Cardema stirred controversy when he said students who are joining protests by groups connected with communist rebels should lose their scholarships. After drawing flak for his statement, Cardema clarified that only government scholars with ties to rebels should lose their scholarships. 

Malacañang has distanced itself from Cardema’s statement, saying government scholars could still express dissent against the policies and programs of the government.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to issue a resolution on the petition as of yesterday. 

‘Too old’

Cardema, 33, is too old to qualify as first nominee of Duty to Energize the Republic through the Enlightenment of the Youth or Duterte Youth, according to election watchdog Kontra Daya.

“The Party-list System law clearly states that a youth sector nominee must at least be 25 but not more than 30 years of age on the day of the election,” Kontra Daya pointed out.

Kontra Daya added that Duterte Youth will make a mockery of the law if Cardema is allowed to sit as its first nominee.

“The Comelec should not tolerate such legal acrobatics by political gymnasts whose greatest strength is closeness to the Palace,” Kontra Daya said.

Kontra Daya warned that Cardema’s request to the Comelec is illegal and will lead to public perception that the poll body lacks independence from Malacañang.

“Comelec should dismiss Cardema’s substitution and save whatever little is left of the integrity of the party-list system,” the group said. – Mayen Jaymalin

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