Bogus party-list groups prompt Comelec to seek changes in lawBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
With the huge number of groups seeking party-list accreditation for the 2013 polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) wants lawmakers to amend the Party-list System Act to weed out “bogus” nominees and uphold the main purpose of the law.
“It has to be amended already…we must limit the sectors and be strict in accrediting so we can eliminate [those that do not belong],” said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. in an interview Monday with reporters.
For next year’s elections, the Comelec has scheduled marathon hearings to screen a fresh batch of organizations, now totaling 172, seeking to participate in the midterm elections.
At present, there are 125 accredited party-list groups.
In the 2010 elections, the Comelec accredited 187 groups. But the poll body declared last month that it would limit the number of party-list groups in the 2013 polls to only 150.
Brillantes said the qualifications for admitting party-list organizations must be amended because they had been subject to many interpretations.
“The law has to be specific. For example, among the professionals sector, when you allow security guards [to be represented], then you have to allow other professions,” said Brillantes.
Under Republic Act No. 7941, “any organized group of persons…provided that the sectors shall include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers and professionals” can be registered as a party-list group.
Brillantes pointed out there was a need to adopt stricter qualifications for nominees of party-list organizations to expunge fake representatives from the system.
In the absence of a more rigid rule in accrediting nominees, the Comelec had issued its own resolution in 2010 stating that a nominee should be “one who belongs to the marginalized and underrepresented sector/s, the sectoral party, organization, political party or coalition he seeks to represent.”