To use a millennial term, there is only one “takeaway” from the two public hearings conducted so far regarding the petition for disqualification of Duterte Youth party-list: Ineligible nominee Ronald Cardema and his ilk are just wasting the time of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

Realizing that he is overaged to represent the youth sector, 34-year old Cardema wants the COMELEC and the public to believe that he is qualified to represent the young professionals instead so as not to be covered by the age requirement. This, however, remains problematic given his lack of a college degree and eligibility from either the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) or the Civil Service Commission (CSC). While he can claim to be just simply an “advocate” of young professionals, this is also problematic given his lack of a clear track record in addressing the rights and welfare of young professionals.

The idiocy is not just confined to Cardema’s bad posturing. There is also the lack of credentials of most of the substitute nominees of Duterte Youth. Even if the latter was not forthcoming with all of the relevant information, the public nows know that four out of five substitute nominees are overaged to be youth sectoral representatives. But that’s not all: None of the substitute nominees may be classified as young professionals and none of them have a clear track record of being advocates of them.

Their brazenness in circumventing the law and in deceiving even the Comelec is rooted in their delusion that they can get away with anything given their connections to the powers-that-be.

Duterte Youth is an epitome of extreme political arrogance and blatant abuse of power. It is a clear example of what is wrong with the Philippine party-list system. It is another wake-up call for COMELEC, Congress, Supreme Court and the Filipino people that urgent reforms are indeed needed now.

Given the foregoing, the COMELEC has no other logical recourse but to deny the substitution bids of Cardema et al. and cancel the accreditation of the party-list group, or at least consider their seat forfeited for lack of any eligible nominee.

Contact person: Danilo Arao, convenor, Kontra Daya

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