All issues surrounding Ronald Cardema’s partylist nominee substitution

May 17, 2019 - 4:20 PM
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Ronald Cardema and Rodrigo Duterte
In this photo: National Youth Commission Chair Ronald Cardema holds two guide books for the Sangguniang Kabataan. (Philstar.com/Michael Varcas)

Sarah Elago of the Kabataan Partylist claimed that Ronald Cardema of the National Youth Commission (NYC) is seeking to replace his wife as nominee of Duterte Youth Partylist at the last-minute.

Cardema’s wife Ducielle Marie D. Suarez is Duterte Youth’s first nominee while another relative Elizabeth Anne Cardema is the group’s fifth nominee.

“He spoke and campaigned for Duterte Youth in his capacity as NYC Chair, used its public platform and resources, then made a last-minute substitution,” Elago said in an online post.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Cardema to lead the youth commission in 2018.  Since then, critics accused him of using the agency for the government’s propaganda.

Elago cited Section 18 of Comelec Resolution No. 3307-A on substitution of nominees on her post.

A party-list nominee can only be substituted “when he dies, or his nomination is withdrawn by the party, or he becomes incapacitated to continue as such, or he withdraws his acceptance to the nomination.”

Moreover, a nominee can’t be replaced by just anyone. The succeeding nominee will automatically substitute the one who resigned or left.

“The name of the substitute nominee shall be placed last in the list of nominees,” part of the provision said.

“No substitution shall be allowed by reason of withdrawal after the close of polls,” it added.

This was emphasized by former commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal on Twitter.

“If the 1st nominee resigns, it’s the 2nd nominee who takes over the 1st spot, 3rd becomes 2nd, etc. The new entering nominee starts at the bottom at no. 5,” Larrazabal said.

The resolution allowed at least five nominees for each party-list whom voters may choose from in the elections.

Once the list has been submitted to the poll body, names of nominees can’t be altered or changed unless the reason for substitution is deemed valid, part of section 15 said.

Moreover, there’s also an age limit to be qualified as a nominee.

In section 14, the resolution stated that a person should be at least 25 years old on Election Day.

For youth-related parties such as the Duterte Youth, the nominee should only be between 25 and 30 years old.

Cardema is already 33 years old.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez told reporters on May 17 that the period of substitution had already passed.

Conflict of interest

Kontra Daya, an election watchdog, previously asked Cardema to take a leave of absence during the elections given that his family members are nominees for a congressional seat in the elections.

The group also requested Comelec to investigate the alleged conflict of interest and use of government funds and resources for their campaign.

“Of course, he would still need to explain whether or not government funds and resources have been used to help in the ongoing campaign of Duterte Youth. Ronald Cardema should be reminded that the use of government funds and resources is a clear violation of the Omnibus Election Code,” Kontra Daya said.

However, Cardema denied these claims and dragged Kontra Daya to his perception of Kabataan Partylist being members of the New People’s Army.

The NYC leader previously gathered widespread criticisms over his remark that youth scholars who rally against the government don’t deserve scholarships.