Category: Commentaries

When ‘partylist’ and ‘proportional representation’ get a new meaning

Jay A. Carizo

When the Party-List System Act of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 7941) was approved in 1995, sectoral groups, especially the marginalized sectors, found hope of having their voices heard in the halls of Congress. Unfortunately, Robert Ingersoll was right: Hope is the only universal liar who never loses his reputation for veracity. Instead of the voice and power for the marginalized, the party-list became a system that opened more rooms for
political clans and dynasts to strengthen their hold on power.

The first attempt to co-opt the party-list system was done in 1998 during the first party-list elections. National political parties in power like the Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats (Lakas-NUCD), the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Liberal Party, Nacionalista Party, Aksyon Demokratiko, Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), and the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) filed their intentions to join the party-list elections. They were accredited by the Commission on Elections and later became a subject of contention in the case of Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party vs Comelec [G.R. No. 147589. June 26, 2001]. The court, however, ruled, that the party-list system is not open to all political parties but to those that are marginalized and under-represented.

Continue reading “When ‘partylist’ and ‘proportional representation’ get a new meaning”

Partylists and political dynasties

The Philippine partylist system was designed to ensure that the marginalized sectors will be given representation in the Congress. This is because for decades, almost the same players dominate not only Congressional but also local and national elections as well.

But while the law creating the partylist system has good intentions, the reality is otherwise. Starting in 2004, political kingpins utilized the system to expand their control fielding family members and relatives. This became more brazen when six years later, then-presidential son, Mikey Arroyo became a nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy, a partylist group representing the security guards. Hence, the question: Is the Philippine partylist system really a trojan horse for ‘New Politics”?

For 2019, political familes have fielded 49 party-list nominees for the May elections. According to the ABS-CBN’s Investigative and Research Group, “if their parties garner enough votes, the nominees could occupy 83% of the 59 party-list seats in the House of Representatives. ” If this happens, what interests could these parties advance?

The infographic to party-list nominees who belong to political families can be accessed here.

Credit to ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group

ABS-CBN’s exclusive report on how political families and clans ‘hi-jack’ the partylist system of representation can also be accessed here.

Position of Reelectionist Senators on Key Issues

Do you know how your reelectionist senators voted or acted on key issues?

On controversial bills some of which became laws, the reelectionist senators voted as follows:

SenatorTRAIN LAWMartial Law Extension in MindanaoBangsamoro Organic LawNational ID System
Juan Edgardo AngaraYESYESYESYES
Joseph Victor EjercitoYESYESYESYES
Cynthia VillarYESYESYES
Paolo Benigno Aquino IVNONOYESYES
Continue reading “Position of Reelectionist Senators on Key Issues”

How Congresspersons voted in lowering the age of criminal responsibility

So, how did your Congressman voted on House Bill Number 8858 which lowers the age of criminal responsibility from the current 15 years old to 12 years old?

The political environment in the Philippines in past few weeks has been divided once gain over the proposed bill that aims to lower the age of criminal responsibility. The initial proposal was to lower the same to 9 years old from the current 15 but was changed in the last minute when questions on scientific basis as well as rationality of the measure, among others, were raised.

On January 28, 2019, with a vote of 146 for “yes” and 34 for “no”,  the House of Representatives gave a greenlight on the proposed bill. The rest of the Congressmen were absent.

Continue reading “How Congresspersons voted in lowering the age of criminal responsibility”