Cardema, a vocal critic of communist rebels and progressive groups, was appointed NYC chairman on August 23, 2018.
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'Incoming congressman' Cardema attends party-list proclamation
( - May 22, 2019 - 9:08pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former National Youth Commission chairman Ronald Cardema attended the proclamation of winning party-lists on Wednesday night despite questions on the validity of his being a nominee of the Duterte Youth.

Cardema arrived at the Philippine International Convention Center, where the Commission on Elections conducted the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of winners, but refused to answer questions from media.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said later Wednesday night that the commission has accepted Cardema's substitution as a nominee because this is allowed as long as it is before election day, but clarified that "whether or not he is eligible is a different matter."

"He was sitting there as a representative of the party-list. I don't know in what he's sitting there. I assume he's a member of that party-list organization," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters in a mix of Filipino and English after the proclamation.

Jimenez added that that doesn't mean that Cardema's petition to substitute for his wife as the party-list's representative in Congress has been approved. "As far as I am concerned, it is not (confirmation). He could be sitting there in any capacity," he said.

Jimenez said the Commission on Elections en banc has yet to sign the decision on Cardema's petition but stressed that the former NYC chair's attendance does not mean that it is in his favor.

This has not stopped Cardema from updating his Facebook profile to indicate his job as an "incoming congressman" at the House of Representatives.

Cardema, whom the Palace said Sunday was deemed resigned from the NYC, filed a last-minute petition to be the substitute first nominee of Duterte Youth after his wife and four other original nominees reportedly backed out. 

RELATED: Cardema may face raps for holding NYC meeting amid party-list bid

Duterte Youth won one seat at the House of Representatives, raising questions on Cardema's sudden bid to be a substitute after campaigning for the group and against Kabataan party-list while still head of the policy-making NYC. 

Those opposed to his substitution have pointed out that he is too old at 33 to be a representative of the youth sector. Under the Party-list System Act, representatives from the youth sector can be no older than 30 years old on election day.

He has countered that Duterte Youth, which he described in previous press releases sent through NYC email addresses as being of the youth sector, actually represents the "youth and professionals."

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