Ronald Cardema pulls his Duterte Youth nomination, blames election official

<i>Photo: ABS-CBN News</i>
Photo: ABS-CBN News

Controversial Duterte supporter Ronald Cardema has withdrawn his nomination to represent his youth group’s party-list seat in congress, citing “harassment” by a top elections official.

Cardema’s decision, which came after a legal challenge that he was too old, became public today after election commission chairwoman Rowena Guanzon tweeted his letter blaming her for “bias” meant to “destroy [the] party’s reputation.” She added the word “stupid” to her tweet.

A vocal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, Cardema was the former chair of the National Youth Commission. He resigned from the body after the right-wing party he founded, Duterte Youth, won a seat in the May midterms.

His letter did not mention the fact that, at 34, he is four years past the legal age to represent a youth group.

Originally the group had nominated his wife and several other people. However, one day before the May 12 election, the group pulled those nominees and sent a new list which included Cardema.

Duterte Youth went on to win one seat in the House of Representatives. As the first nominee, Cardema was expected to take it. However, his proclamation was postponed when another youth group, Millennials PH, petitioned elections officials in June. The group challenged his eligibility based on an election law saying youth group representatives must be between 25 and 30. The elections body disqualified him last month. 

One of the commissioners voting to disqualify him was the feisty Guanzon.

Cardema, who wears red armbands recalling another right-wing youth group with a similar name, has blamed Guanzon for his woes. He even accused the latter of extorting PHP2 million (US$38,000) from his group to get them accredited in time for the May election, according to CNN Philippines. Guanzon denies that and put Cardema on blast in a series of tweets calling him “old,”  a “coward,” and a “trying hard name-dropper.

In his notice of withdrawal, Cardema showed that the war of words is far from over. 

“Even with our strong faith with the [election commission] en banc that it will side with our motion for reconsideration and will protect us now from the harassment of their corrupt colleague (Guanzon), with all humility I withdraw from my nomination to sacrifice myself for our party list… .”

Guanzon, in her tweet, said that Cardema’s written comments were libelous. He’s also obsessed with her and needs a psychiatrist, she added.


How do you think this politically-fueled public spat will end? Tell us by leaving a comment below or Tweeting to @CoconutsManila.

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