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Palatino became a member of the House of Representatives following the decision of the Philippine Supreme Court declaring the entitlement of Kabataan Party to a seat in the House of Representatives. A graduate of education from the University of the Philippines Diliman, Palatino was active in student politics. He was chairperson of the college student council in 1999. A year after that, he was elected as chairperson of the University Student Council.
In 2001, Palatino was elected as the national president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), the biggest alliance of student councils and governments in the Philippines. Palatino was one of the convenors of different broad youth formations, including the Estrada Resign Youth Movement (ERYM), Youth Action Network (YAN), Filipino Youth for Peace, Kabataan Kontra-Kartel (Youth Against the Oil Cartel), and TxtPower. Palatino was awarded by the United Nations Association of the Philippines (UNAP) for “youth empowerment on national concerns.”