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EDITORIAL – Rationalizing the party list system


The Filipino star

November 19, 2021 | 00h00

Out of 270 party list accreditation requests, at least 126 have so far been rejected by the Election Commission. Comelec should further prune the list.

The party list system has become a travesty of the constitutional drafters’ intention to provide representation in Congress to marginalized sectors. The Charter specifically mentioned the sectors of work, peasants, the urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women and youth.

The constitutional provision specifically excluded the religious sector from the party list, while allowing “other sectors provided for by law”. Leaving this matter to the discretion of lawmakers has opened the floodgates for party list representation for anything and everything.

Today, there are party list organizations created by major political parties and religious groups, and several that do not even represent a specific sector. Their representatives in Congress are no longer required to be bona fide members of the industry. And the burden on taxpayers continues to grow as the list of accredited groups grows every three years.

Thus, the trimming by Comelec of the list of accredited groups is always welcome. It would be even more welcome if he could trim the list to its simplest form.

It would be too much to expect the House of Representatives, whose membership is continually growing through gerrymandering and party lists, to pass legislation that will make the system really work for the marginalized. The change of charter can either introduce reforms to make the system work, or put an end to this failed experiment of marginal representation.

In the meantime, however, Comelec may consider ways to streamline the party list. While a Supreme Court ruling has contributed to the deplorable state of the party list, Comelec must not give up its efforts to prevent abuse of the system.