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Ice Seguerra calls out Cardema's Congress bid

MANILA, Philippines – From one former National Youth Commission chairperson to another, Ice Seguerra clapped back at Duterte Youth Chairman Ronald Cardema  as he criticized the latter's use of his government position to campaign for the youth group in the 2019 elections.

In a Facebook post on Monday, June 17, Seguerra called out Cardema over his work at the youth commission, saying he should be held accountable over whether or not government resources were used to campaign for Duterte Youth.

"Wag tayo mag deviate sa issue. Ito lang masasabi ko, you have to be accountable for what you did to the NYC to achieve your political plans at wag kang gumamit nang mga strategy na pailalim para lang manalo," Seguerra said. 

(Let's not deviate from the issue. All I can say is, you have to be accountable for what you did to the NYC to achieve your political plans and do not use underhanded strategies to simply win.)

Prior to his last-minute bid to join the House as a party-list representative, Cardema served as NYC chair. Election experts and watchdogs called this out, saying it was an attempt to go around the law that deems appointive officials as "resigned" upon filing of their certificate of candidacy.

Seguerra made the statement in response to comments from Cardema who said he, along with with actor and former NYC commissioner Dingdong Dantes, was the reason why youth recruitment to the New People's army was "strong."

In a Manila Bulletin report, Cardema is quoted posting on Facebook: "Kaya malakas youth recruitment ng NPA rebel allies kasi napabayaan niyo na sila lang nagsasalita sa bansa! (Youth recruitment by NPA rebel allies is strong because you just allowed them to speak for the country!)" Cardema's Facebook post has since been removed from his page.

Cardema's comments came after Seguerra, Dantes, and 5 other former NYC executives called for the "outright" dismissal of the Duterte Youth chairman's bid for a party-list seat.

'NPA not the only problem of youth'

Seguerra then highlighted Cardema's performance when he served as commissioner for Luzon under Seguerra's leadership.

"Tuwing meeting natin (na usually eh hindi ka naman nakikinig), ilang beses ko nang sinabi sa iyo kung inaalam mo ba ang sitwasyon ng mga kabataan sa area mo nung Commissioner for Luzon ka? Umikot ka ba para alamin kung ano ang mga pinagdadaanan nila? Though it is an issue, hindi lang NPA ang problema ng kabataan," Seguerra said.

(During meetings [where you usually weren't listening], how many times did I ask you what you knew about the situation of the youth in your area as commissioner for Luzon? Did you go around and try to understand wha they were going through? Though it is an issue, the NPA is not the only problem of the youth.)

Seguerra argued if Cardema wanted to focus solely on addressing the NPA, he should have switched agencies. As NYC chair, Cardema previously came under fire for his aggressive campaigns which targeted leftist youth groups.

Seguerra himself had resigned from the NYC in March 2018 as he said he could no longer give his 100% service to the Filipino Youth.

Cardema's bid for a party-list seat remains up in the air as the Commission on Elections tackles petitions challenging his qualifications to sit in Congress. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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