SC and Comelec hit for lenient rule on partylist system

Mar. 23, 2015

House representatives today condemned the recent Supreme Court and Commission on Elections ruling that will enable the rich and famous to participate in the partylist system intended for the poor and marginalized.

The poll body will no longer require groups or organizations to submit the name of their nominees when they apply to be accredited as party-list, said acting Comelec chairman Christian Robert Lim. He said this is because SC ruling in the Atong Paglaum case had rendered the nominees insignificant to party-list elections.

In its ruling, the high tribunal said that the Party-List System Act does not require that parties or organizations be marginalized and under-represented for accreditation as party-list. The high court also ruled that party-list nominees do not have to come from the marginalized and under-represented sectors that they wish to represent in Congress. Even mere advocates could become nominees.

Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate said the ruling “reverses the true essence of the partylist system.”

Colmenares said marginalized sectors will lose representation because of the ruling.

“Sa ngayon pa lamang po ay iilan lang naman ang tunay na nagsusulong ng interes ng mga inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan sa Kongreso tapos ganito pa ang gagawin nila (Right now, only a few really represents the marginalized in Congress and then this is what they did),” Colmenares said.

Meanwhile, Zarate said the ruling could serve as a backdoor for traditional politicians to get back into power.

“We hope that we can still reverse this ruling because it is snuffing out what little people’s representation in Congress that is there,” said Zarate.

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