Senate electoral panel sets another hearing on abuse of party-list system

Published October 8, 2019, 9:53 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Mario Casayuran

The Senate electoral committee will call for another public hearing to clarify the issues on the increase of party-list groups in the House of Representatives that reportedly do not belong to the marginalized members or underrepresented groups in Philippine society.

Senator Imee R. Marcos (Senator Imee R. Marcos official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Imee R. Marcos
(Senator Imee R. Marcos official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Duterte himself had come out against the abuse of the party-list system as evidenced in the past elections where winning organizations are virtually selling their House seats or the winners are rich or scions of political leaders or they represent vested interests, Senator Imee R. Marcos said Tuesday.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon herself was critical at the current bastardization of the party-list provision in the Constitution where the winners do not actually represent legitimate and marginalized groups.

Aside from conducting another committee hearing, Marcos said her committee would begin its technical working group (TWG) process on other non-controversial, election-related bills of her colleagues.

Marcos recalled that President Duterte was fuming because even security forces were used as fronts for leftists by using the party-list system.

“Ito ang ating problema kung paano isaayos (This is a problem that should be resolved),” Marcos pointed out.

“Ako, personally naniniwala pa rin sa party-list system, dahil pagbibigay daan ito sa maliliit na grupo na sabi nga sa consti marginalized and underrepresented ang iniisip natin dyan mga women, magbubukid, mangingisda mga youth mga grupo ng ip, yan ang iniisip natin pero yun nga minsan yung org, nasabing partylist (I still believe in the party-list system because it gives avenues for small groups that are allowed by the Constitution to represent the marginalized and underrepresented. These groups should represent women, farmers, fisherfolk and youth groups),” she pointed out.

“I’m very clear that the intent of the partylist provision is a law for social justice para ma-represent ang maliliit na sector na wala namang malalaking distrito, wala namang malalaking budget, walang makapangyarihang mga political party (This party list provision allows the representation of the minority sector and do not represent a big district, has not much funding and does not represent a big political party),” she said.

But current events show the reverse, she pointed out.

Marcos said critics have observed that the increased number of party-list groups in the Lower House only increased the tentacles or power of political dynasties.

What is worse is that these questionable party-list groups are for hire, she said.

“Napakasakit pakinggan pag nakita natin itong paraan sana para mabigyan ng kinatawan ang mga sektor na di naririnig ay napapalitan at nauuwi pa sa korapsyon (It hurts to hear that the system, which is supposed to serve as a venue for the marginalized sectors to express their concerns, end up in corruption),” she told Senate reporters after the committee hearing.