MANILA - Malacañang ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) Tuesday to investigate former National Youth Commission (NYC) Chairperson Ronald Cardema after he allegedly presided over a meeting of the body even though he is already deemed resigned from his post.
Cardema, who sought to replace his wife as first nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list for the midterm elections last May 12, reportedly presided over a meeting of the NYC last May 15, said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
"We referred the case of Cardema to the DOJ because we received reports that despite his filing of a certificate for substitution, he presided over a meeting subsequent to that certification," Panelo told reporters during a Palace press briefing.
Panelo earlier said the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) confirmation that Cardema filed a timely petition for substitution connotes that he is already resigned from his post.
He said the Palace was unaware of the questioned NYC meeting as well as Cardema's filing of a petition for substitution, and received the report from an unknown message sender.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed Malacañang's order for an investigation and said the DOJ would look into possible charges against Cardema.
"Sec. Sal Panelo requested the DOJ this morning to look into this matter and evaluate if charges may be filed against Ronald Cardema. The DOJ will start by gathering the relevant facts," Guevarra told ABS-CBN News.
Cardema had defended his substitution bid, saying he filed it “on time” and that he is “qualified to represent the Duterte Youth party-list and the Filipino people who voted for us."
His substitution has been assailed as he is 3 years older than the age limit - 30 - for nominees for youth representation in the House of Representatives.
-with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News