Kontra Daya slams Roque’s move to drop party-list nomination
The sudden decision of former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque to drop his nomination as a party-list representative of Luntiang Pilipinas and run for senator instead is a “mockery of the election process and the party-list system,” an election watchdog said Thursday.
University of the Philippines professor and Kontra Daya convenor Danilo Arao, slammed the convenience with which the “rich and powerful like Roque” make a mockery of the election process.
“The party-list system is not just a backdoor for the rich and powerful to enter Congress, it has become some kind of fallback option for the same rich and powerful,” Arao said in a statement.
He also stressed that they singled out the case of Roque’s “seemingly overnight membership and nomination in Luntiang Pilipinas, only to drop his bid at the last minute so that he can run for senator under the PRP (People’s Reform Party).”
“How did Roque secure a nomination in this party-list? Was he ever a member to begin with? Was he ever nominated through a convention? What does it say of party-list groups that allow such shortcuts to happen?” he asked.
Arao likewise dared the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to state for the record what it has done to prevent the rich and powerful from exploiting the party-list system at the expense of the marginalized in whose name the law was made.
“For example, what has the Comelec done to prevent past reports of party-list groups for sale?” he specified.
The Party-List System Act (Republic Act No. 7941) was enacted into law in 1995 “to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible.”
Kontra Daya noted how, through the years, this “simple scheme” became an “elaborate scam” when the rich and powerful have repeatedly used it to “consolidate their control of their respective districts and the House of Representatives as an institution.”
The poll watchdog also cited their 2016 study which concluded that: “The Supreme Court decision on the qualification of party-list nominees along with very lax Comelec guidelines, in the context of a political system already dominated by the rich and powerful, are to blame for the rise of political dynasties in the partylist system.”
“This development also makes it even harder for grassroots-based partylist groups to gain entry into Congress as they face further marginalization from the rich and powerful dynasties,” it added.
Roque formalized his senatorial bid for the May 2019 midterm elections on the last day of filing of Candidacy on Wednesday under the PRP, the party of the late senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. He earlier said he would run as the first nominee of Luntiang Pilipinas party-list.
The former presidential spokesman said he had done this to pursue his happiness. He also said his decision had the blessing of President Rodrigo Duterte. /ee
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