5, 2014

NR # 3368B

Amendment of Party-List System Act sought
Lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan bloc have moved to save the party-list system by filing a bill that seeks to ensure it is truly reserved for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society. Reps. Neri Colmenares !ayan Muna"# Carlos $sagani %arate !ayan Muna"# Luzviminda $lagan &abriela"# 'mmi (e )esus &abriela"# *ntonio +inio *C+ +eachers"# ,ernando -icap *nakpawis" and +erry Ridon .abataan" authored -ouse !ill /01# which allows the registration of a group# organization or political party as a party-list group only after it has proven in an evidentiary public hearing to be conducted by the Commission on 'lections that it truly represents the marginalized and the underrated sectors and that its nominee actually belongs to the sector he or she seeks to represent. +o be known as the &enuine 2arty-List &roup and Nominee *ct# the bill# also amends 3ection 1 of Republic *ct No. 014/or the 2arty-List 3ystem *ct# dis5ualifying from being a party-list nominee anyone who was elected and served as mayor# vice mayor# governor# vice governor# congressman# senator# vice president and president. $t also dis5ualifies those who are related to incumbent government officials by affinity or consanguinity to the 6rd degree# appointed and served in the Cabinet within five years from the 2arty-List election they are being nominated for and served as the provincial director of the 2hilippine National 2olice or battalion commander of the *rmed ,orces of the 2hilippines or any higher position within five years from the 2arty-list election they are being nominated for. +hose whose income is more than the base pay of a party-list member of the -ouse of Representatives during the party-list election they are being nominated for shall also be ineligible# the bill provides. Colmenares said the 3upreme Court# in its ruling on May 1# 788/ in the !ayan Muna vs. Comelec consolidated case where it dismissed the petition of the !agong !ayani# declared that only those who belong to the marginalized and underrepresented shall be allowed in the party-list election. Colmenares said Comelec# in effect# reversed the ruling when it allowed nominees to run for the party-list elections as long as he or he is a member of the supposed marginalized and underrepresented group at least ninety days before the party-list elections. 9+he number of party-list representatives has come close to 78: of the total number of members of the -ouse in the /; th Congress# and the growing concern then was

the entry of party-lists and nominees that were not truly representatives of the marginalized and underrepresented but are coming from powerful economic and political interests#< Colmenares said. 9+he impact of the entry of those who do not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented is disastrous because like a raging tsunami it practically obliterated the constitutional intent of reserving 78: of the seats in Congress for the party-list system by allowing those who form part of the =8: to also invade the constitutionally secured seats of the already underrepresented. $t also closed off the venue for the e>pression of the voice and interest of the poor and the already underrepresented#< Colmenares declared. Colmenares also lamented the recent decision of the 3upreme Court in the 2aglaom v. Comelec# which he said# 9completely overturned the novel idea of the 2arty-list system reserving a portion of Congress for the marginalized and the underrepresented.< 9+he decision stating that ?party-list groups need not be marginalized to participate in the 2arty-list 3ystem@ practically opened wide the floodgates for the rich and the powerful elites to freely participate in the 2arty-list elections thereby further limiting# or even obliterating# the only space for the poor and the underrepresented sectors to become active participants in legislation and in crafting laws that will benefit their sectors#< Colmenares said. Colmenares sought the immediate approval of the bill saying it addresses the violation of the constitutional and statutory intent for the party-list system. 9+o save the party-list system# we must fulfill our historic duty of amending the party-list law if only to make sure that the very law@s original intent survives#< Colmenares said. 68" mrs

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