Cleansing the Party List
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
Except for those who are members or actually representing the groups, the recent decision of the Commission on Election to trim the roster of party list organizations has been generally hailed by the populace of this country.
Not that they do not recognize the benefits that some, the few, that is, of the representations of such groups have brought to the sectors they represent. Their concern, mostly, is over the seeming abuse of the opening granted by the Constitution that was intended to give a voice to those who cannot afford to go through the usual processes of election through party memberships and exhaustive campaigns.
The rationale for the institution of the party list system was supposedly to accommodate the marginalized, or underprivileged sector, to also have the means to be heard and their concerns presented in Congress. It was a good plan, but, somehow along the way, something misfired, and we find ourselves swamped with so many groups who are being used by those who want a shortcut to Congress, but who themselves and their members are neither marginalized or underprivileged.
Who would have expected that we would be harboring hundreds of such representatives so many of whom are millionaires, and possibly, even billionaires? Consider the case of the son of a president who cut his way back to Congress, after leaving the seat he was duly elected to in order to accommodate his mother.
The names alone chosen by some of the party list groups would indicate that they regard it as a joke. But it is not a joke to the entire citizenry when we think that these people, too, will be entitled to all the perks and benefits that regularly elected members of Congress receive.
Members of the groups axed by the Comelec in the last few days have howled their disappointment and some have threatened court action, but the electoral body should stand firm. Let us not allow a good idea gone astray with some undeserving leaders to make a mockery of our law-making body.*