Sotto seeks amendments to party-list system sans Cha-cha
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said he would file a measure amending the party-list system, a move that he said would no longer require amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
Sotto said he intends to file the measure on Monday next week.
“I have been crafting a law that will amend the party-list system para mas malinaw. We will no longer be subject to the interpretation of the Supreme Court or whoever, or Comelec (Commission on Elections),” Sotto said during Wednesday’s weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay.
He said this, explaining that the original intent of the party-list system is limited to the marginalized sectors such as the urban poor, women, youth, indigenous people, and labor.
“Yun yung iniisip namin baka makumbinsi natin ang Pangulo at ang ibang mga kasama natin na hindi na kailangang ang Constitution ang galawin para i-address yung issue sa party-list system. Yun ang isang strategy na nakikita ko,” the Senate leader added.
(That’s one way that we think can convince the President and some of our colleagues that there is no need to amend the Constitution to address that issue on the flaws of the party-list system. That’s one of our strategies.)
Talks on charter amendments recently came to the fore after President Rodrigo Duterte suggested in a meeting with leaders of both houses of Congress and the military in November that the Senate and the House of Representatives convene to amend the constitutional provision on sectoral representation through the party list system.
The President, quoted Sotto, wanted “this problem with the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) solved. The best way is that we remove the party list system, or change it in the constitution so we can call for a constituent assembly and amend that.”
Sotto hopes that his bill would be supported by his colleagues in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.
“My proposal is to amend the partylist law. It’s not to abolish them so dapat makisama sila rito, makitulong sila dito kung alin talaga ang tama na gawin (they should cooperate, help us do what is right),” he said.
Sotto later suggested that groups planning to overthrow the government should not be considered a marginalized sector and must be barred in the party-list system.
Duterte earlier tagged some partylist groups, like the Makabayan bloc, as “legal fronts” of the communists.
“We can come up with a (provision), to be able to address that particular concern of the President, what we can do is come up with a provision saying that if you are working for the overthrow of government you can’t be qualified,” Sotto said.
“So if your group is working for the overthrow of government, you are not qualified, you cant be a marginalized sector,” he added.
He assured his measure would not mention of the Makabayan bloc.
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