Vetting political parties
The elimination of several partylist groups like the Galing Pinoy party of Rep. Mikey Arroyo is a small but sensible step towards rationalizing and protecting the partylist system in the country.
The Galing Pinoy party was founded on sheer convenience as it was intended to sustain the candidacy of the former president’s son, who gave way to his mother as she ran for his old post as Pampanga representative in order to escape prosecution from the many alleged crimes she committed during her Palace tenure.
As the failed airport escape last year showed, not even her Congress post saved former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from being placed under hospital arrest and facing a host of cases ranging from election irregularities to plunder.
The Ako Bicol case is a little more complicated. According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Ako Bicol is a duly accredited political party but it will not join next year’s elections because it failed to explain what sector it represents—Bicolanos most likely—and it doesn’t qualify as representing the underprivileged.
The delisting of these groups come on the heels of a proposed bill that would provide subsidies to political parties whose constituencies should be two percent of the voting population.
While one would have reservations over funding political parties with taxpayers’s money the bill’s rationale would be to enable the public to hold these parties accountable to them while ensuring their survival and their commitment to public service.
That means that under the law, these political parties should maintain a two percent constituency and should be able to win in elections in order to qualify as a legitimate contender and representative of their sector similar to but separate from the partylist system.
If the electorate isn’t bothered by nuisance candidates who run for a myriad reasons ranging from claims to divine destiny to being the owner of half of the country and even claiming to be a husband of TV host Kris Aquino, it is also inundated with candidates whose claim and qualification to run for public office stemmed from being sons and daughters of retiring public officials.
The political party funding bill won’t be passed anytime soon but it does provide some counterpoint to the Comelec de-listing of partylist groups like Galing Pinoy whose congressional representative is hard put to convince a skeptical public that he does represent the public transport sector and security guards owing to the fact that he’s not even one of them in the first place.
In the meantime, we welcome the Comelec’s vetting of partylist groups if only to restore some semblance of dignity and to justify the purpose behind the creation of the partylist system.