Ex-Comelec chairman backs SC on party lists

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The recent decision of the Supreme Court to abandon its ruling that restricted the party-list system to marginalized and underrepresented sectors “reflects the true intent” of the 1987 Constitution, former Commission on Elections Chair Christian Monsod said Sunday.

Monsod, a member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the Constitution and principal proponent of its party-list system provision, downplayed critics’ assertions that the Supreme Court’s setting of parameters for the party-list system—allowing even the national political parties and nonsectoral groups to participate in the party-list elections—had “bastardized” the Party-List System Law and could render the marginalized sectors even more marginalized.

“The party-list system is not synonymous with sectoral representation. It is not exclusive to a particular sector,” Monsod said in a statement.

It will be recalled that the Supreme Court majority opinion, penned by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, quoted Monsod in explaining that the party-list system was not limited to particular sectors and that sectors need not be “marginalized and underrepresented.”

40 groups reinstated

As a result of the new ruling, around 40 party-list groups disqualified by the Comelec under the old guidelines crafted by the court in the 2001 Ang Bagong Bayani case were reinstated. The court came up with parameters to serve as Comelec guidelines for screening party-list groups.

Monsod, a lawyer, allayed fears the new parameters would revive and breed political dynasties and moneyed individuals that would gobble up the smaller groups and dominate the seats in Congress. He affirmed that the court’s ruling gets around the mechanics of sectoral representation, while making sure that those who really have a national constituency or sectoral constituency will get a chance to have a seat in Congress.

Monsod said the party-list system was composed of three different groups: National parties or organizations; regional parties or organizations; and sectoral parties or organizations.

National and regional parties or organizations are different from sectoral parties or organizations, he pointed out. National and regional parties or organizations need not be organized along sectoral lines and need not represent a particular sector.

Monsod said Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List Law of 1995 does not define or require the sectors, organizations or parties to be “marginalized and underrepresented.”

He said major political parties cannot participate in the party-list election since they neither lack “well-defined political constituencies” nor represent “marginalized and underrepresented” sectors.

Monsod added that RA 7941 does not require national and regional parties or organizations to represent the “marginalized and underrepresented” sectors.

Ideology-based

“To require all national and regional parties under the party-list system to represent the ‘marginalized and underrepresented’ is to deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-oriented parties from the party-list system,” he said.

Under the party-list system, Monsod said an ideology-based or cause-oriented political party was clearly different from a sectoral party. He said a political party need not be organized as a sectoral party and need not represent any particular sector.

It is sufficient that the political party consists of citizens who advocate the same ideology or platform or the same governance principles and policies, regardless of their economic status as citizens, he added.

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  • eltee2012

    >>>WELL INDEED.

  • Mark

    Ang kaso, ginagamit ng mga trapo (Mikey Arroy) ang butas ng batas para maging kongresista, at alam natin na hindi nman tlaga nila i-rerepresent ang grupo nila kungdi sa pangsariling interest katulad ng pagtago ng mga nakulimbat na yaman ng bayan

  • popeyee

    Kung ganon din lang, tanggalin na lahat ng regular congressmen dahil wala ng silang mai-re-represent dahil lahat na lang ng sector ay sasakupin na ng mga partylist representative. Alisin na rin ang inutil na senado…

  • whyinthisworld

    I admire mr. monsod before but now I have second thoughts about him. Maybe he is right but he should examine and analyze the whole thing during and after the last congress. He should also consider it’s accomplishment, if any of those representatives under party list. How about the effect on our national budget. We have more than 200 congressmen if these congressmen are intelligent, hard working, diligent and clean, I don’t think we need party list representative. Now you want party list representative, reduce the number of congressmen to be elected.

  • Guest

    wala sa tuno ang sinasabi ni Monsod akala siya lang ang nakakaalam ng batas na kung anu ang interpretasyon ng SC tama lahat, ang mga nakaupong Justices ay hindi diyos at sila’y tao rin na nagkakamali nang pagtibayin ng mga congresista at senadores ang party list system ang intensiyon para lamang sa mahihirap magkaroon ng boses sa congreso at hindi ang sinasabi ng mga ulyanin na justices ng SC.

    • Hornbook

      You do realise Mr. Monsod was a member of the Constitutional Commission. He definitely knows what he is talking about.
      If the part list system is exclusive to marginilised and underrepresented then the women, elderly, professionals and the youth cannot run and be represented in Congress.
      And you think that’s fair? You do not have to be a lawyer to know the answer.

      • Ayjayar

        That’s easy to answer.
        Pt 1: Monsod was indeed a member of the Con-con and by his own admission, the author of the party-list proviso. So what?… he cannot be questioned 26 years AFTER we’ve had this 1987 Cory Constitution?
        Pt 2: In the past, women, elderly, professionals and the youth have been RUNNING for public office and had gotten elected, and you raise the point that they are NOT represented in Congress?
        Pt 3: Fr Bernas has mentioned that, in fact, party-lists are ENCOURAGED to participate at the national and regional levels precisely because they cannot win at the legislative district levels (for reasons he does not explain). Who are these organizers of natl- and regional party-listers except those who are ALREADY MONEYED, INFLUENTIAL and knows the “trick of the trade,” (read: political dynasties, trapos, defeated candidates, scions of same-tired-faces in the political scene)?
        Pt 4: ANYTHING GOES party-lists – If I were a boot-black and wanted to organize my economic sector as “under-represented” and “marginalized,” wouldn’t it make more sense for me to be “sponsored” by the latest successful politician in my community? Or the moneyed businessman?
        If I were a separatist/rebel and got inspired by Fr Bernas’ tome that IDEOLOGICAL aspirations are okay (without surrendering my firearm, of course, or batting for a separate homeland), I could run as congressman, get my pork barrel, and channel these money to recruit MORE separatists!

        Where is the logic in all of the above points, for us ordinary Juans and Juanas??

  • Ayjayar

    All Mr. Monsod and our SC justices have to do is to VERIFY who are those people who allegedly represent the “underrepresented” and “margnalized” sectors – they are nothing but has-been politicians, sons and daughters of politicians, defeated candidates in the past elections, and extensions of the political dynasties that we find EVERYWHERE in our blighted country.
    The SC before was already on the right track in scrutinizing and disqualifying questionable party-lists, and here comes Mr. Monsod batting for them – JUST AS SOON AS MIKEY ARROYO’S PARTY-LIST WAS REMOVED. That’s what I call political vendetta to the max… what a shame…

    • Hornbook

      Well too bad, it is not in the province of the Supreme Court to IMPLEMENT govt policies. Its duty is to interpret the laws in accordance with the Constitution. Fair and square. The COMELEC is empowered to verify if the representatives of certain sectoral groups are bona fide with a track record of advocacy.
      I believe the Supreme Court decision speaks of the true intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution.

      • Ayjayar

        “Yah, too bad.. you got the bad egg” from a sacrosanct SC that cannot be questioned. But really???
        YET it still begs tjhe question of why being “under-represented and marginalized” covers ‘pala’ the WHOLE GAMUT of the “social justice” milieu ONLY NOW?

        Why wasn’t this issue raised DURING the deliberations of the 1987 Con-Con and clearly specified? Why only now, when more than 40 party-list entities had their accreditations removed, only to be restored at the last moment (of course, without the “hated” party-list of one Mikey Arroyo?! How convenient?). “Urong-sulong” SC? What a label to carry!

        In any case, as has already been pointed out by some perceptive posters elsewhere, the greater issue is the broad and ambiguous definition of ,”under-
        represented and marginalized” in the context of “social justice” as “intended”
        by the Framers. Okay, so it covers the entire spectrum – economic, political, ideological and what-have-you. Isn’t this just an open invitation for any
        Juan-Pedro-Kulasa to organize a party-list and claim the same as their expression of constitutional “social justice?”

        What about the trapos? The political dynasties? The warlords? The separatists? Those who want to foment the destruction of our republic? Are they marginalized and under-represented too, and can claim themselves social-justice “victims???”

        While mouthing .motherhood statements may be nice and can cause misty eyes, nonetheless, let us not fool ourselves blind!!

      • Hornbook

        Uhm… did you actually read the SC decision in its entirety.

        “Why wasn’t this issue raised DURING the deliberations of the 1987
        Con-Con and clearly specified? Why only now, when more than 40
        party-list entities had their accreditations removed, only to be
        restored at the last moment” – The framers of the Constitution cannot foresee how the laws/policies will be implemented. Hence we have the SC to interpret and to uphold its intent.

        There is enough jurisprudence defining what is “marginalised and underrepresented”. The main contention is: Did the framers envisage an exclusive representation for the marginalised? The answer of course is No.

        If the party list system is exclusive to marginalised then it would discriminate against the elderly, women, professionals and the youth.

        “Isn’t this just an open invitation for any
        Juan-Pedro-Kulasa to organize a party-list and claim the same as their expression of constitutional “social justice?”

        – No, direct quote from ConCom

        “MR. MONSOD: Sino po ang magsasabikung iyong kandidato ng
        UNIDO ay hindi talagang labor leader or isang laborer? Halimbawa, abogado
        ito.”

        “MR. TADEO: The COMELEC may look into the truth of whether
        or not a political party is really organized along a specific sectoral line. If such is verified or confirmed, the political party may submit a list of individuals who are actually members of such sectors. The lists are to be published to give individuals or organizations belonging to such sector the chance to present evidence contradicting claims of membership in the said sector or to question the claims of the existence of such sectoral organizations or parties. This proceeding shall be conducted by the COMELEC and shall be summary in character. In other words, COMELEC decisions on this matter are final and unappealable.”

        Supreme Court only interprets the law it does not have police power to implement it.

        Nasa COMELEC pa rin ang bola.

      • Ayjayar

        “This proceeding [on the claims by sectoral organizations as to their existence or legitimacy] shall be conducted by the COMELEC and shall be summary in character. In other words, COMELEC decisions on this matter are final and unappealable…Supreme Court only interprets the law it does not have police power to implement it.” (Con-con delegate Tadeo)..

        There you have it, as clear as day!
        While it can be argued that the SC is the FINAL interpreter of laws – even higher than the Framers themselves(?) – it behooves this court to exercise EXTREME discretion in exercising same. The court, after all, is not just legal interpreter, it is also supposedly the bedrock of the social justice persona from whence the wisdom of countless jurisprudence flows. Has it shown that character? Maybe, but from the perspective of the ordinary Juans and Juanas here, the court seems to be doing its homework on the run, correcting its answers as it navigates the traffic to the office….:( (sigh)

        As a consequence, the COMELEC Chair has been quoted as saying only recently the SC INTERFERES TOO MUCH in the decisions of that constitutional body, and HE is thinking about resigning (and, by implication, LET THE SC RUN THE COMELEC, tutal 3x na rin naman pinahiya ng SC ang Comelec sa urong-sulong decision nito… and I can’t blame Chair Sixto Brillantes either!). Maybe after Atty Brillantes, the palace should appoint a comelec chair who is “less complaining” and “more pliant?”

      • Hornbook

        Have you heard of our Supreme Court’s extraordinary duty?

        Basa.

        (2) “to determine whether or not there has been a GRAVE ABUSE of
        discretion amounting to LACK or EXCESS of jurisdiction on the part of
        ANY branch or instrumentality of government.”

        Do not take the provision ” In other words, COMELEC decisions on this matter are final and unappealable”

        Did you know the party list petitioned that COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying several party list groups?

        The SC ruled it did not but laid down the guidelines for COMELEC in order not to commit grave abuse of discretion.

      • http://www.facebook.com/anjeloesportunomisa Anjelo Misa

        “Who can participate in the Party-List Election?”

        This was already resolved in the case of Ang Bagong Bayani vs COMELEC. The highest tribunal once ruled that a Polical Party whether major or not can participate in such election “provided that they represent the marginalized and underrepresented.” Part of the decision thereof, the Supreme Court had lay down guidelines, which will assst the COMELEC in its works in determining who are qualified to participate in such election. However, these guidelines (Ang Bagong Bayani) was reversed/abandoned by the current Supreme Court decision. I agree with the dissenting opinion of CJ Serreno that the ponencia (J Carpio) had further marginalized the already marginalized and underrepresented. In the second parameter of the current decision, it allows the national/regional parties/organization to participate in such even they do not represent the marginalized and underrepresented. The current decision was decided by the Supreme Court sitting “en banc”, I am totally distressed that the majority had concurred on such. We should leave the Party-List Representation to the “marginalized and underrepresented”.

        Alam naman natin na totoong kahulugan ng “marginalized and underrepresented”, hindi naman ‘to vague and ambiguous… i-apply na lang natin ‘to to its plain and simple meaning.

        May tyansa pa bang manalo ang partido ng mga farmers, teachers, urban poor etc.?

        Ang problema kasi, from time to time, nagbabago ang definition ng marginalized and underrepresented. Sinadya ng Congress na lagyan ng loopholes yang RA 7941 para every local election gamitin nilang depensa yan. Matagal ng inaabuso ng mga trapong pulitiko ang Party List System natin. Yung Anti-Political Dynasty Bill nga hindi maipasa kasi majority ng miyembro ng Congress guilty…samantalang ang Konstitusyon pa ang nagsabi nun (Article I Section 26)…

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