Brillantes prefers rich people barred from joining party-list elections
MANILA, Philippines—If he had his way, election chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said he would like the wealthy individuals barred from joining the party-list elections.
Brillantes said economic factor should be the main consideration should Congress decide to define the word ‘marginalized’ under Republic Act 7941 known as the Party-list Act.
While the law provides that party-list representatives should belong to the “marginalized and underrepresented” groups or sectors, there is no clear definition of what is “marginalized and underrepresented.”
“Ang gusto namin sabihin nila yung mga sector at sabihin nila ano yung marginalized sector na yun (We want them to say what are these sectors and what is this marginalized sector),” Brillantes said after attending the hearing of the Senate committee on electoral reforms on Thursday.
“Ang definition ko sana ng marginalized, meron sanang economic factor. Yun ang main factor. Yung mayayaman hindi pwedeng sumali sa ganito (My definition of marginalized should have included the economic factor . That should be the main factor. Those who are rich can’t join,” he said.
But the poll chief pointed out that there were also sectors that did not require economic consideration like women, elderly and youth.
“Kaya nga magulo e (That’s why it’s complicated) so there has to be a total revision of the party-list,” he said.
In the absence of a clear definition in the law, Brillantes said the Comelec has the right to make its own definition.
“Oo naman. Sino ang nag i-interpret? Kami lang naman ang nag-a-accredit (Yes, we do. Who would you rather interpret? We’re the ones who do the accreditation),” Brillantes said when asked if the poll body can interpret the law on its own.
“The law allows us to accredit the partylist, so in accrediting it we have to make our own definition of what is marginalized unless we are overruled by the Supreme Court. Yun ang aming (That is our) definition unless the law is passed to amend the partylist system,” he pointed out.
But before defining what ‘marginalized” is, Senator Sergio Osmeña III said the word ‘group’ should be defined first.
“I mean would prostitutes be marginalized. Would that be considered a group?” Osmeña asked.
Responding to the senator’s query, Brillantes said, “The presumption is once they file a petition to be accredited under the partylist system , they will have to show in their petition that this a group of people joined together as an association.”
“But anybody can do that,” Omeña said.
That was why, Brillantes said, they were trying to address it because at present, they deal with the problem on a case-to-case basis.
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