Overaged Cardema faces Comelec probe over 'misrepresentation' for youth party-list

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2019 04:57 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2019 05:07 PM

MANILA - An official of the Commission on Elections has ordered an investigation into former youth commission chair Ronald Cardema for allegedly committing a criminal offense of material representation.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said Cardema may have committed a crime when he stated under oath in his certificate of nomination that he is qualified to be a representative of the youth sector in the House of Representatives.

Under the Party-list System Act, a nominee of the youth sector must not be more than 30 years of age on the day of the election.

"Cardema has admitted during the hearings and in his documents that he is already 34 years old," Guanzon told reporters.

Guanzon said if the law department recommends that there is probable cause, the complaint would be submitted to the Comelec en banc for approval.

"If the banc approves it, an information will be filed against him for violating the Omnibus Election Code and it will proceed as a criminal offense in the court," she said.

The commissioner made the announcement after the Comelec First Division cancelled Cardema's bid as first nominee of the Duterte Youth Party-List.

Guanzon added that Cardema may have also committed a criminal offense by submitting an oath of office.

"I was told Cardema has submitted an oath of office as exhibit in the case records but he was not allowed to assume office by [the] House of Representatives," she said.

"Recently the secretary-general of the House of Representatives said they would honor the decision of the Comelec, which means they will not allow Cardema to assume office as representative."

Guanzon, meantime, urged party-list groups to "take a stand [on] this issue" as it "makes them all look bad."

"That's why some people [are] saying his partylist should be abolished already because they seem to have no accountability," she said.

"Because they have no specific constituency, they believe they are feeling like senators because they say they are elected nationwide."