Fix party-list law – Comelec
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is considering lobbying in Congress to fix the loopholes in the party list law that allow the rich and the powerful to occupy seats meant for marginalized and underrepresented sectors in the House of Representatives.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, Comelec Chair Sheriff Abas said the poll body was looking into the possibility of proposing measures “to enhance further the party list system” that, he said, has become a “joke.”
“Those who join are billionaires, while the marginalized get ousted, and that becomes the issue,” the poll official said.
“But that can be fixed by Congress,” Abas said, adding that only lawmakers can amend the law on the party list system.
Among the flaws cited by the poll official in the current law is the accreditation of party list nominees.
“We wouldn’t know who [the party] would field as nominee until during [actual] filing of nomination,” Abas said.
“Then there’s substitution, [which is allowed] until a day before the elections. So look at the nominee, the problem lies there, not in what the party represents,” he added.
Under the Constitution, the party list system provides congressional representation for marginalized sectors and causes.
Several studies, however, show that parties that win the party list elections are often controlled by sitting politicians and political families, or are connected to them.
For now, Abas said the poll body is limited to implementing what the law and subsequent Supreme Court decisions have allowed.
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