The Party-List System Revisited



The Party-List candidates in the May 2022 elections, to my observation, are not given enough attention in the electoral campaigns. This is sad, considering the intention of the party-list system which is to give voice to the underrepresented sectors in the Legislative branch of government. The Party-List system was created in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, opening the doors for basic sectors in Philippine society such as the urban poor, labor, farmers and indigenous peoples to participate in lawmaking. Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act was signed into law in 1995. It mandated that “the state shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system”. Party-list representation in the House of Representatives is a system whereby 20% of its members shall be elected coming from the sectors previously mentioned. The voters under this system shall vote not for individual political contenders for a seat in Congress, but for parties who name their nominees for these congressional seats. The party that wins at least 2% of the national vote gets one seat, and no party shall be allowed more than three seats in Congress. In my own readings, I have discovered that this system has been in fact the subject of landmark COMELEC and Supreme Court cases, and that the nature of groups or organizations (“parties”) joining in the electoral race for party-list representation has in fact been contested and is no longer exclusive to the marginalized sectors, thus veering away from its original intention in the 1987 Constitution. This is lamentable, considering its great potential to pave the way toward genuine equity and inclusivity in governance. It has, instead, been exploited by self-serving politicians who, in forming their own parties supposedly representing basic sectors, have in fact only furthered their own interests using the system. It’s time we call for an assessment and revisitation of its implementation.


TRIVIA


Birthday greetings to Rev Fr, Fidel Mamerto Bagayaua who celebrated his natal day this week. My belated congratulations as well to Atty. Luningning Carios who passed the 2021 Bar Exams.


QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:


“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.” - ST. TERESA OF CALCUTTA


FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:


“You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge” - PSALM 14:6