Cardema ineligible as youth representative, not a professional – lawyer
MANILA, Philippines — The lawyer of Duterte Youth party-list nominee Ronald Cardema admitted Wednesday that her client is not qualified to represent the youth sector, not a professional, and not a college graduate.
During an en banc hearing of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the petition seeking for the disqualification of Cardema as Duterte Youth party-list nominee, poll Commissioner Rowena Guanzon grilled Cardema’s counsel, Atty. Rani Angeli Supnet, on the eligibility of her client as representative of Duterte Youth in Congress.
On whether or not Cardema is qualified to represent the youth sector, Supnet said her client is ineligible because he is beyond the age limit set under the law.
“He’s 34 years old today, so you admit that he is not qualified as a youth sector representative?” Guanzon asked Supnet, who replied, “Yes, as a youth sector [representative].”
“But your argument is that he is in fact qualified as a young professional?” Guanzon further asked, to which Supnet said: “Yes, your honor.”
Supnet argued that the term “professionals” is not properly defined under the law, and went to describe it as, “One that is engaged in a specified activity, and that specified activity is considered as their occupation rather than a specific task.”
Guanzon then pressed Supnet regarding Cardema’s profession. Supnet asserted “[Cardema is] not a professional but an advocate of the professional.”
“But what is his degree? Did he graduate from college?” Guanzon further asked Cardema’s lawyer.
Supnet, who seemed to have tried to avoid answering the question, eventually said: “He did not graduate from college.”
“If he did not graduate from college, then he has no degree,” Guanzon pointed out, to which Cardema’s lawyer agreed.
During Comelec’s first en banc hearing on the petition, Cardema’s camp said he represents “young professionals” and not the “youth sector” despite his group’s party-list name – Duterte Youth.
Petitioners sought for Cardema’s disqualification, citing a provision in the Party-list Law which states that youth sector representatives must only be aged 24 to 30.
“What is the root word of ‘young’? Isn’t that the noun for that.. Isn’t that ‘youth’?” Guanzon asked Cardema’s lawyer to explain.
“Isn’t that ‘young’ is derived from ‘youth’?” the Comelec official moreover asked.
Supnet momentarily fell silent and then answered: “I agree.” (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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