No Cha-cha needed to ‘solve’ communism claims on party-list system
MANILA, Philippines — There is no need to amend the party-list system under the 1987 Constitution to “solve” claims that some party-list organizations are allegedly supporting communist rebels.
House committee on constitutional amendments Alfredo Garbin on Monday said the issue may be taken up with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
He issued the remark after President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly wanted to be either amended or “removed,” to “solve” the problem with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army (CPP-NPA).
Garbin said he believes that the President wanted to amend or remove the party-list system because some party-list organizations are allegedly being used by the CPP-NPA to espouse violence to bring down the government.
“If that is the sole issue, then the solution lies with the Comelec,” Garbin told reporters in an online interview.
He said the Party-list System Act provides the grounds where a party-list can be disqualified and their registration be canceled.
These grounds include supporting violence or unlawful means to seek its goal, and if they are proven to be connected with armed groups.
“We need not to amend the Constitution because we have existing law and we have remedies provided therein,” Garbin said.
“The certificate of registration is a continuing requirement for a party-list representative to sit in Congress. The moment it is cancelled then they cease automatically. I think that is the proper remedy,” he added.
While acknowledging that the President’s concerns on the party-list system are valid, Garbin, who is a party-list representative, said there is no need to abolish it, only reform it.
“I admit that there are needs to reform the party-list system, but not to abolish it,” he said.
He assured other party-list representatives that he will not allow any amendment in the 1987 Constitution that would seek to abolish the party-list system.
The debates on the proposed Cha-cha would only tackle “restrictive” economic provisions in the Constitution, he said.
“Hindi ako magsusuporta sa isang bagay na, of course, ilalagay sa alanganin ‘yung party-list system where we truly believe and that’s why we participated in this representation,” he said.
(I will not support anything that would put in peril the party-list system where we truly believe and that’s why we participated in this representation.)
“So klarado ‘yung direksyon ng ating Speaker, talagang restrictive economic provisions lang. Walang pulitika dito, walang term extension, walang abolition of term limits,” he added.
(So it is clear the direction of our Speaker, really for restrictive economic provision only. No politics here, no term extension, no abolition of term limits.)
The House panel debates on the proposed “economic Cha-cha” are set to resume on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
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