Cardema withdraws as Duterte Youth nominee

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    DISQUALIFIED Duterte Youth party-list nominee Ronald Cardema has finally thrown in the towel.

    Cardema submitted his Notice of Withdrawal at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as the first nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list group in spite of his pending Motion for Reconsideration regarding his disqualification, and a new set of nominees the group submitted, where he remained as the first nominee.

    In a one-page Notice of Withdrawal filed last Friday, Cardema said he was abandoning his application to represent the group in Congress in a bid to ensure that the votes the group received will not go to waste.

    “With all humility, I withdraw from my nomination to sacrifice myself from our party-list so that the Comelec can immediately release the Certificate of Proclamation of the Comelec-approved succeeding nominee and to give justice to the votes of 350,000 Filipinos, whom we declare to immediately serve with their needed medical assistance, requested patriotic projects, and activities for nation building,” Cardema said.

    He said he is withdrawing from the nomination due to their group’s continued inability to assume their post in the House of Representatives despite having been proclaimed by the poll body last May.

    Cardema cited the continued public harassment of Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon as the reason why they have not been issued their Certificate of Proclamation, which is a requirement in assuming a seat in Congress.

    “More than 350,000 Filipinos voted and gave their mandate to Duterte Youth party-list last May 2019 and, until now, we are not able to take our duly-proclaimed seat in Congress because of the public harassment towards me by Commissioner Guanzon,” Cardema said.

    The former National Youth Commission head also said he was withdrawing his nomination despite having the confidence that his MR will be granted by the Comelec en banc, which would then result to him being deemed as eligible as Duterte Youth’s first nominee.

    “Even with our strong faith in the Comelec en banc that it will side with our MR and will protect us from the harassment of their corrupt colleague…,” said Cardema.

    He expressed hope his withdrawal will be the last hurdle in the continuing desire of the Duterte Youth group to get its Certificate of Proclamation.

    “It is my prayer that this personal sacrifice be accepted and proceed now to the immediate release of the Certificate of Proclamation of the succeeding nominees of the Duterte Youth party-list,” he said.

    Last August 5, the Comelec First Division declared the 34-year old  Cardema as being ineligible to represent Duterte Youth since the latter is a party-list for the youth sector, whose representative must be between 25 to 30 years old as provided by the law. Cardema is 34.

    Cardema subsequently filed an MR before the Comelec en banc last August 13 as he reiterated that Duterte Youth is a multi-sectoral organization, which means that its nominees should not have an age limit.

    Separately, last August 6, Duterte Youth filed a new set of nominees from numbers 2 to 5, with Cardema retained as the 1st nominee, while his wife, Ducielle Marie Cardema, is the 2nd nominee.

    During the last May 13 elections, Duterte Youth was awarded with one party-list seat after getting a total of 354,629 votes.