Representative of controversial Duterte Youth party-list sworn in as House member

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 13 2020 07:23 PM

MANILA — The representative of controversial party-list group Duterte Youth was sworn in as an official member of the House of Representatives on Tuesday evening, amid pending disqualification cases against it. 

The party-list's first nominee, Ducielle Cardema, took her oath as House member before freshly-installed House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

Before this, Cardema's name was included in the roll call of House members during plenary session, eliciting confusion on social media about her participation.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sheriff Abas said last month that the poll body has cleared the way for Cardema to occupy a seat at the House of Representatives. 

Cardema is the wife of former National Youth Commission chair Ronald Cardema. She had to step in last minute to salvage the party-list's House bid after her husband was disqualified for attempting to represent a youth group despite being overage.

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon had criticized her colleagues' decision to grant a certificate of proclamation to Cardema, calling the move "unconstitutional."

Guanzon holds the same argument as the group of election lawyers who said Duterte Youth was not able to comply with the publication requirement under Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act and Comelec Resolution No. 9366.

The group, led by Emil Marañon, had earlier said they would exhaust all legal remedies, even go up to the Supreme Court, to reverse what they called the "most unconstitutional act ever done by Comelec in its 80-year history."

In reaction to Cardema's oath taking, Marañon in a tweet questioned the manner by which the representative was sworn in. 

"[C]omelec has yet to make public its decision regarding her proclamation. Has the Comelec en banc convened as the NBOC (National Board of Canvassers) to proclaim her? Why everything has to be surreptitious?" Marañon asked.