Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Contrary to Cardema’s claim, NYC received COA disallowance notices


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FACT CHECK: Contrary to Cardema’s claim, NYC received COA disallowance notices
State auditors have noted irregular expenditures by the National Youth Commission under Ronald Cardema’s leadership since 2018

Claim: National Youth Commission (NYC) Chairperson Ronald Cardema said the NYC has never been issued a notice of disallowance by the Commission on Audit (COA) for misappropriating funds.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook video bearing the claim was posted on October 3 on a page with 56,000 followers. As of writing, it has garnered 1.3 million views, 35,000 reactions, and 5,600 shares.

The video shows 2022 footage of Cardema responding to allegations of corruption in the NYC, saying: “Wala ngang sinabi ang COA na kurakot ang NYC, wala nga kaming disallowance o kahit pinapabalik na pera.

(COA has never said that NYC is corrupt, we were never even issued a notice of disallowance or ordered to return any money.)

The bottom line: Under Cardema’s leadership, the commission was flagged by COA for irregular expenditures in 2018, 2021, and 2022, and ordered to refund unauthorized expenses. The NYC chairperson’s false claim has also been fact-checked by VERA Files.

The footage of Cardema was from an unscheduled debate with Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel on October 1, 2022, following Manuel’s proposal to defer deliberations on the NYC’s 2023 budget amid alleged mismanagement and corruption within the commission.

Irregular expenditures: Cardema’s leadership of the NYC, which began in August 2018, was marred by irregularities on the use of leave credits and excessive travel expenses. In its 2018 report, state auditors ordered the commission to refund excess claims for the unauthorized expenses based on a Notice of Disallowance issued on February 20, 2019.

In 2021, COA flagged the commission for diverting up to P2.714 million to support the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and its illegal use of funds from the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program.

The NYC was again flagged in the 2022 audit report for questionable training expenses amounting to P31.4 million and P5.43 million in domestic travel spending due to “excessive payment of hotel room reservations” and “incomplete documentation” of disbursements. 

NYC chair: Cardema made headlines as a passionate supporter of former President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 presidential elections and led the Duterte Youth Movement.

He was named NYC chair in 2018 after serving as the commission’s officer-in-charge following the resignation of singer-turned-government-official Ice Seguerra.

Cardema resigned from his post in 2019 for a failed bid to occupy a seat in the House of Representatives with the party-list group Duterte Youth, and was reappointed to the NYC in August 2020.

Resurfaced claim: The 2022 video of Cardema berating Manuel recently resurfaced following the congressman’s criticism of the government’s 2024 budget, the Office of the Vice President’s confidential funds, and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s travel expenses.

Rappler has published several fact-checks on dubious claims on Manuel and Kabataan Partylist:

– Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com

Kyle Marcelino is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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