By +Oscar V. Cruz, JCD
“The Party-List representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to part-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.” (1986 Phil. Constitution, Article VI, Section 5.2)
THE Officers and Members of the 1986 Philippine Constitutional Convention by and large proved their intelligence and integrity, their competence and good will. Their spirit was patriotic. Their intention was principled. Their vision was noble. Thus it is that the 1986 Philippine Constitution they dutifully prepared and accordingly approved by Filipinos is worthy of the gratitude and affirmation of the People of the Philippines.
The above-cited constitutional provision on the Party-List System cannot be faulted in its desire and design, its interest and concern in behalf of the less favored members of Philippine society. The rich and the powerful can take care of themselves. The influential dynasties and leading clans can readily protect their own interests as well as promote their own concerns. But there is Party-List representative to stand for the rights and demands of the underprivileged, the helpless, and marginalized sector of Philippine society.
But sad to say, depend on the professional politicos in the Country to mess up the just content and right intent of the Party-List constitutional provision and intention. The truth is that some of them are even planning to change allegedly “some” constitutional provisions, allegedly according to the demands of the times, allegedly for the “good” of the people, allegedly for the “welfare” of the generations yet to come. Again: Count of the said specialist in partisan politics to use, abuse, misuse the Party-List System to their own egoistic advantage and benefit.
It grossly started with someone having the backing the then most powerful and consequently most privileged political lineage in the Country. Wonder of all wonders, the individual concerned nonchalantly presented himself as the head nominee/candidate of a Party-List representing the Security Guards among other forsaken sectors of Philippine Society. The known personality won hands down. Hands down as well, he is now gone.
Now, it is reported that there is a “Movement” that is already well entrenched in power and influence as very close ally of the present administration, is now seeking COMELEC accreditation as a Party-List. Wow! So it is that there are now at least three quite new bad words that have entered the world of politics: “Epal”, “Bofal”, “Kapal”.
Party-List System: Where goeth thou?