Duterte Youth’s Cardema leaves a trail of false claims on party nominees
Former National Youth Commission Chair Ronald Cardema contradicted himself and members of Duterte Youth on the reason why its nominees withdrew their candidacies en masse a day before the elections.
The Duterte Youth (Duty to Empower the Republic Through Enlightenment of the Youth), a group that represents the youth and professionals, won one seat in Congress.
In a May 23 interview with ABS-CBN, a day after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) proclaimed the winning party-lists, Cardema said the five original nominees--which include his wife Ducielle Marie Suarez and his second cousin Elizabeth Anne Cardema--withdrew due to “cold feet”:
“Cardema: I talked to my wife and she told me I’d be in the best position to debate in Congress, to advocate for our advocacies…Napag-usapan talaga nila na (they discussed [and] agreed that) the best representative there for Duterte Youth, the best representative there to defend the military, the youth, the government, is me.
Q: But why didn’t you settle this among yourselves...bakit (why) at the very last minute you would file for substitution…?
A: Ano po eh, parang hindi rin po ineexpect, nagkaroon rin po ng kaba sila na… mataas iyong expectation bigla sa Duterte Youth, dahil during the campaign kita naman natin na talagang nakiki-engage ang Duterte Youth sa Left tapos talagang trina-try ng Left, na tapatan rin ang Duterte Youth (It was not expected, they also feared that…the expectation for Duterte Youth is high because Duterte Youth is really engaging with the Left during the campaign…while the Left also tried to match us)...
Q: So this was a belated realization on the part of all five nominees of the Duterte Youth that you would have been the best person to sit in Congress?
A: Yes po.”
Source: ABS-CBN News Channel, Cardema - Duterte Youth nominees backed out due to Left fears, May 22, 2019, watch from 0:17 to 2:03
The notarized notices of withdrawal submitted by Duterte Youth’s original nominees do not bear out Cardema’s claim that all five lost their nerve during the campaign period, Comelec records show.
The nominees wrote a variety of reasons for withdrawing their nomination as party-list representative – from deciding to go back to private life to welcoming work opportunities abroad:
- Second nominee Joseph De Guzman said that after “careful contemplation,” he wanted to work “unnoticed” and instead support Duterte Youth “away from public opinion.”
- De Guzman’s wife Benilda, the group’s third nominee, emphasized that she would rather leave policymaking to the “intelligent minds” in the group, as it cannot replace her passion and calling for teaching.
- Fourth nominee Arnaldo Villafranca said he wants to keep his privacy while fulfilling his obligation to his family “under normal and ordinary ways of living.”
- Cardema’s cousin Elizabeth, Duterte Youth’s fifth nominee, wrote that she had a job opportunity abroad that “seem to offer promising experience.”
Only Cardema’s wife Ducielle, the group’s first nominee, explicitly echoed his statement that the group felt he would be the best representative of the party-list.
“Specifically, I objectively passed (sic) on the responsibility to the leadership of the party whose compassion and expertise are more fitting...”
Source: Ducielle Marie D. Suarez’ Notice of Withdrawal as Duterte Youth party-list nominee
Read the full story on VERA Files Fact Check.
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