MANILA -- Malacañang said Sunday it considers National Youth Commission (NYC ) chairperson Ronald Cardema resigned from his post after the latter sought to replace his wife as first nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list for the midterm elections.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Commission on Election's (Comelec) confirmation that Cardema filed a timely petition for substitution connotes that he is already resigned from his post.
"The President shall soon appoint a person who can advance the genuine interests and welfare of our country's youth as the new chairperson of the NYC," Panelo said in a statement.
While the Comelec has yet to decide on Cardema's plea, Panelo said the Palace already deems that Cardema has abandoned his post as youth commissioner.
"Regardless of the outcome, we deem that Mr. Cardema has already abandoned his present position because his act of filing the petition absolutely reflects his intention to relinquish his office and exposes his desire to serve the government in a different capacity," he said.
"The Palace therefore requires Mr. Cardema to vacate his office forthwith and turn over all official papers, documents, and properties in his possession to the Office of the President," he said.
Under the Party-list System Act, a nominee of the youth sector must not be more than 30 years of age on the day of the election. Cardema is 33.
As of 3:09 p.m. Sunday, Duterte Youth received 346,314 votes or 1.25 percent, based on 98.25 percent of partial and unofficial election returns.
The party-list will need to secure 2 percent of the total votes in the party-list race to get at least one slot in the lower chamber during the first round of seat allocation. A party-list group can get up to as many as 3 seats.
Cardema was urged to file a leave of absence during the campaign period or resign his position as NYC chair to avoid using his post to campaign for his wife, Ducielle. The group's fifth nominee is another relative, Elizabeth Cardema.
Cardema, often associated with the Duterte Youth movement, was appointed head of the NYC last year. He replaced singer-actor Ice Seguerra, who resigned due to "personal reasons."