- President Duterte has recently stated that he intends to abolish the party-list system
- Akbayan representative said that it’s not the party-list system that must be abolished but political dynasties
- Many representatives expressed their opposition to the President’s plan
Instead of abolishing the party-list system, the government should abolish political dynasties. This is the battle cry of a number of party-list representatives who expressed their opposition against the president’s intent to abolish the party-list system in the event the 1987 Constitution is changed.
According to Tom Villarin, Akbayan Representative, “Not all party lists are bad…” He said that the 1987 Constitution framers instituted the party-list system so that the underrepresented sectors such as the farmers, teachers, and a lot more, will be given the proper representation in Congress.
Villarin highlighted the fact that his party list has been a moving force in passing landmark measures like the Reproductive Health Law and the Philippine Competition Act.
It wasn’t only Villarin who feel disconcerted at the intention of the President to completely eradicate the party-list system.
Gary Alejano, Magdalo Representative, said that party lists have successfully pursued various interests of different sectors. He also mentioned that the Supreme Court has time and again noted that the party-list is a “tool for social justice.”
Another point that Alejano stressed was that district representatives don’t always get to push for the needs of certain sectors as their primary focus is their own district, as a whole, but not on a per sector basis.
Another representative, John Bertiz, who represents the OFW sector said that he has recently passed a bill which called for the creation of a department specifically for OFW’s. He then reiterated that there aren’t a lot of congressmen who really care for their underrepresented sector.
Alfredo Garbin, AKO Bicol representative said that abolishing the party-list system is not the solution, but what should be done is to review and amend RA 7941.
Duterte has recently made a pronouncement that he wants to abolish the party-list system because he believes that it is used by the wealthy to attain a position in Congress.
Not sharing the same stand as the President with regards to abolishing the party-list system, Villarin made a strong statement saying, “What the President should do is follow and implement the constitutional mandate of abolishing political dynasties. Many of them are in fact now allied with him. He should likewise push for banning political turncoats too.” - SD, Kami Media