“He is too presumptuous. He had the gall to gatecrash our get-together when he is not even a nominee of his party-list group,” one incumbent representative whose organization has won at least one seat in the House of Representatives said.
Russell Palma
Cardema gatecrashes party-list meeting
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - May 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Controversial former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema drew criticisms and jeers from party-list lawmakers yesterday for attending their organizational meeting on Tuesday night.

“He is too presumptuous. He had the gall to gatecrash our get-together when he is not even a nominee of his party-list group,” one incumbent representative whose organization has won at least one seat in the House of Representatives said.

Another attendee said Cardema became the butt of jokes.

“Here comes the most controversial representative wannabe of the most controversial party-list group,” he said he heard another lawmaker introduce the ex-youth commission chief as he walked into the meeting room.

Cardema has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to replace his wife Ducielle Marie as incoming representative of new party-list group Duterte Youth in the House. 

Ducielle Marie is a member of the staff of Rep. Lito Atienza of Buhay, who belongs to the House minority bloc.

She briefly showed up at yesterday’s minority news conference but she avoided reporters.

About 40 incumbent party-list lawmakers and sure winners attended Tuesday night’s meeting at a Quezon City hotel.

They grouped themselves to be a force to reckon with in the speakership fight in the House and in the chamber’s reorganization.

Most of those attendees want Rep. Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman to be their leader.

According to the Comelec, 61 party-list representatives will sit in the House in the incoming 18th Congress. Romero’s 1-Pacman might have won two seats based on the number of votes it received.

The Comelec has yet to rule on Cardema’s petition to substitute for his wife.

But even before the commission could make a ruling, the ex-youth commission chief has updated his Facebook profile to indicate he is an “incoming congressman.”

According to an incoming party-list representative, Cardema is disqualified to represent the youth sector under Republic Act 7941, or the Party-list Act of 1995.

“He is overage. Under the law, a party-list nominee for the youth sector should not be more than 30 years old. Cardema is 33 or 35. Even at 30, one is too old to represent the youth,” he said.

Following Cardema’s petition, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the congressman wannabe has effectively resigned as NYC chief when he opted to hold another office.

Malacañang has ordered the Department of Justice to look into whether the former official violated any law in opting to be a nominee of his party-list group. 

Amend the law

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas yesterday admitted that there is a need to amend the party-list law.  

At a press conference yesterday, Abas said they are studying proposals that they could submit to Congress so the party-list system can be “returned” to the “marginalized and under-represented sectors” of society.

Abas said it is beyond the poll body’s jurisdiction to screen the qualification of nominees being fielded by party-list organizations.

“They are saying that the party-list does not represent the marginalized sectors and that it has been infiltrated by the billionaires. Our concern is more on registration and then accreditation of the party-list,” he added. 

He said that in screening the groups’ application for accreditation, the poll body would not see the nominees’ list until it is time to submit names. 

Sen. Panfilo Lacson hit Cardema for allegedly making a joke of the party-list system.

“Ronald Cardema and the Duterte Youth party-list are just two of many reasons why the party-list system has become a joke,” said Lacson in his Twitter post. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Sheila Crisostomo

RONALD CARDEMA
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