Actor Dingdong Dantes, a former National Youth Commissioner, criticized the agency’s latest chairperson Ronald Cardema for what he perceives as a deceitful move to secure a seat at the House of Representatives.
Dantes was reacting to a report that the Duterte Youth party-list, which Cardema co-founded, represents young professionals rather than the youth.
The report was quoting Cardema’s lawyer who was trying to justify his client’s request to replace the party-list’s first nominee who earlier withdrew from the post. Cardema is above the age required by law to be a representative for the youth sector at the House of Representatives.
For Dantes, the party-list should have simply included “youth professionals” to its name.
“Imagine a young voter who seeks genuine youth representation in the House and sees this very promising name while scrolling the ballot— Duterte Youth,” Dantes tweeted.
“Tapos nung nanalo, young professionals pala ang nirerepresent. Eh ‘di sana ‘yun na lang pinangalan nila sa kanila. Deceiving,” he added.
Imagine a young voter who seeks genuine youth representation in the House and sees this very promising name while scrolling the ballot— Duterte Youth. Tapos nung nanalo, Young Professionals pala ang nirerepresent. 😂Eh di sana yun na lang pinangalan nila sa kanila. Deceiving. https://t.co/UPdefHucwc
— Dingdong Dantes (@dingdongdantes) June 11, 2019
Dantes retweeted a local report that cites the statement of Cardema’s lawyer George Garcia during the Commission on Elections hearing of the contentious last-minute substitution appeal.
“Even if they will argue, perhaps the respondent cannot be classified as youth sector he can be classified as the [young] professional sector,” he said last June 11.
This was his response to petitioners questioning Cardema’s eligibility as representative of Duterte Youth, a party-list the Comelec accredited as a youth-related group.
The petitioners were representatives from the organizations National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines and Youth Act Against Tyranny.
Emilio Marañon, the petitioners’ legal counsel, pointed out that Cardema’s camp had a different tune before the hearing.
“All his public statements he has been representing the youth sector and not the professional sector, he only said he is professional sector in this [substitution] case,” Marañon said.
An outspoken Dingdong
It was not the first time that Dantes, who was appointed chair under the previous Aquino administration, questioned Cardema’s actions.
Dantes previously did not welcome Cardema’s move to replace his wife as Duterte Youth’s first nominee after it won a seat in the mid-term elections.
“Pwede bang nagising na lang siya isang araw at nag-decide na trip niya? Maaari kasing nagamit ang ahensya upang magkaroon siya ng unfair advantage noong kampanya,” he tweeted last May.
Despite opposing Cardema’s move, Dantes nevertheless thinks that the former youth commission chair has good intentions for running.
“I believe they have their good intentions for running— something that is very admirable (saludo). But to circumvent the vulnerability of the PL system this way using a Youth lens is unacceptable,” he tweeted.
What happened so far?
The Commission on Elections accepted Cardema’s bid despite several legal issues. For one, he and four other substitutes are too old to legally represent the youth sector.
Commissioner Rowena Guanzon was the only one among the Comelec’s top decision-makers to have dissented while Commissioner Luie Tito Guia abstained.
Aside from age, the sudden withdrawal of all the five initial nominees and the timing also raised suspicions.
As of press time, the Comelec has yet to decide whether Cardema is eligible to represent Duterte Youth or not.