Examine party-list system

Examine party-list system

 in its ‘totality’: analyst

A political analyst on Thursday said if Congress would seek to revise the country’s party-list system, then members should look at its “totality and make it work for the marginalized sector.”

“Sana kung babaguhin yung sistema ng party-list system, tingnan na natin ang kabuuan kung ano ang pwede nating gawin para yung party-list ay talagang maging representative dun sa mga sector na inidentify sa saligang batas (If they would change the party-list system, look at its totality so that the party-lists become true representatives of the sectors identified in the Constitution),” said Edmund Tayao, professor at the Ateneo School of Government, in an interview with the Philippine News Agency.

He said the move to revise Republic Act 7941 or the Party-list System Act should not be for the sole purpose of disqualifying certain groups but to “truly clarify the law”.

Tayao said revisions to RA 7941 is possible but not an amendment to the provision in the Constitution as this would need to call for a plebiscite.

Senate President Tito Sotto earlier said he would file a bill amending the party-list system.

Sotto said the move would bar groups intending to overthrow the government from securing a seat in the House of Representatives.

Sotto earlier disclosed that President Rodrigo Duterte has urged Congress to look at the Constitution because he wanted the party-list system amended.

Duterte, he said, wanted issues with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) solved.

Sotto said the President believes some members of the Congress, particularly Makabayan Bloc, are sympathizers and are connected with the CPP-NPA, and the best way to do it is to make changes to the party-list system or amend the Constitution.

However, Sotto believes this could be done without going for a charter change.

Tayao, for his part, agreed with this but cited the importance of public approval.

Kahit comma kasi na babaguhin mo sa Constitution eh you need the approval of the people because it’s not an ordinary legislation kaya nga siya ang tawag ay charter (If you will change even a comma in the Constitution, you need the approval of the people because it’s not an ordinary legislation that is why it is called ‘charter’),” he said.

Tayao said there is something lacking with how the party-list system is implemented.

He said the law should be clearer on which sector should be represented and who is qualified to represent such sectors.

He, however, said if the intention is to disqualify the Makabayan Bloc from running the elections, then they may be declared as an enemy of the state.

Pwede silang matanggal o ma-disqualify kasi pag dineklara silang enemy of the state eh hindi na sila entitled, kumbaga matatangal na yung kanilang civil and political rights eh so hindi na sila entitled na tumakbo (They may be delisted or disqualified because if they are declared as an enemy of the state, then they are no longer entitled [to their rights], they will lose their civil and political rights so they are no longer entitled to run for a position),” Tayao said.

He said the President and even Congress could do this.

He added that Congress could file a resolution and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will act on it and remove them from the list.

He said the party-list system is not the only one that’s flawed but the whole system. He added that to truly implement change and improve the system, a full system change or an amendment to the Constitution is needed. 

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