Robredo wants law criminalizing political turncoatism, debates on runoff elections

Published April 3, 2022, 8:35 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo said there should be a law against political turncoatism or jumping from one party to another as the activity weakens the political party system in the country.

Vice President Leni Robredo (Comelec Screenshot)

Robredo made the statement during the second round of the Pilipinas Debates, the presidential debates hosted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on April 3.

According to Robredo, she agrees that turncoatism weakens the country’s political party system.

“Yung mga kandidato ngayon, yung mga tumatakbo, hindi na tinitignan kung ano yung mga pinaglalaban ng mga partido nila (Those who are running for the elections no longer look at the advocacy of their party),” she said.

“Palaging convenience na lang, political convenience yung sinusunod (It’s always about the political convenience),” she added.

The Vice President said Congress should pass a measure making turncoatism illegal because as long as politicians are allowed to switch parties, the country’s political party system will not get strong.

“Ito (batas) yung makakautlong sa pagpapalakas ng political parties natin. Mapipilitan nito na yung mga politiko ay sumasali sa isang partido dahil sa mga prinsipyong ipinaglalaban ng partido (A law would help strengthen our political parties. It will force politicians to join a party because of the principles the party is fighting for),” she said.

“Hindi natin maaasahan na lalakas ang mga political parties kasi pwede siyang i-dispose at any time (We cannot expect our political parties to be strengthened because they can be disposed of at any time),” she added.

Electoral reforms

Vice President Robredo said it was time to revisit if the present multi-party system in the Philippines still works or if it was already time to bring back the two-party system.

She then reiterated her call to open the debates on runoff elections. A runoff election is a second election that is held if the top candidate in a first election did not meet the minimum percentage of votes required in a particular area.

“Kung nagwo-work sa atin yung multi-party system, kinakailangan ba natin na magkaroon din ng runoff elections gaya ng ibang lugar (If the multi-party system still works, is it time to have runoff elections like in other countries)?” Robredo raised.

“Sa ilang presidential elections na, minority president ang laging nahahalal dahil napakaraming kandidato (Over many presidential elections, it’s always the minorty president being elected because we have too many candidates),” she added.

Through runoff voting, eliminated candidates can influence their supporters on whom to vote for in the second election.

“Ang pinaka-punto ko lang, panahon na para debatehan ulit ito para tignan natin ano ba talaga ang pinaka-akma para sa atin (My point is it’s time for us to debate on this so we can see what works for us the best),” Vice President Robredo said.

Meanwhile, Robredo insisted that those who violate campaign rules should be held accountable.

“Maraming mga perceived na campaign violations na parang yung accountability hindi nae-exact. Kailangan balikan natin (There are many perceived campaign violations, but it seems accountability is not exacted. We need to go over this),” she said.