The Palace on Sunday refused to express support for former National Youth Commission chairman Ronald Cardema, who had asked President Rodrigo Duterte to look into his allegations of extortion against a poll commissioner that disqualified him as the representative for the Duterte Youth party-list group.
Cardema, 34, disqualified because he was older than the maximum allowable age for youth sector representatives, alleged that Commissioner Rowena Guanzon hired an emissary to ask him for favors in exchange for the approval of the accreditation of the Duterte Youth Party-list for the May 2019 polls.
“We ask the President for help. At this point that we’re really defeated, maybe we can ask help from the President,” Cardema said in a press conference Saturday.
But Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Malacañang will not interfere in the issue and advised Cardema to file charges instead of complaining to the media.
“We don’t care in anything he does. We will never intrude into anything that does not concern the Palace. So that’s between him and Commissioner Guanzon,” Panelo said in a radio interview.
“If he has a corruption charge, he should file a case. He doesn’t have to go [to the] media about it. File a case. Why does he have to drag the Palace [into this]?” the spokesman added.
The Duterte Youth earned a single seat in the 18th Congress after it gained enough votes in May polls.
But the Comelec disqualified Cardema from representing a youth sector in the House of Representatives because he was already 34 years old.
The Party-List System Act requires a youth sector representative to be 25 to 30 years old on election day.
Guanzon was one of the commissioners who voted to disqualify Cardema.
She also pushed for a probe to determine if Cardema committed “material misrepresentation” when he filed for candidacy, which would amount to an election offense with criminal liability.
She also said members of her family received death threats.
Guanzon also denied Cardema’s extortion claims.
Panelo said that even though Cardema is a known supporter of President Duterte, the Palace willnot back him.
“If he did something wrong, he’s on his own,” Panelo said.
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