‘Strengthening political system to eliminate patronage politics’
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - February 10, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Many politicians are held hostage to the vested interests of groups and individuals who contribute to their campaign.

This practice could affect policymaking and eventually how a country is being run if left unchecked.

According to Sen. Edgardo Angara, the key to addressing this issue is the strengthening of the political party system in the country.

Angara, who serves as the new chairman of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), lamented that a lot of the politicians become hostage to their contributors, particularly during the election period.

“How do you make a politician hostage to you? Through political contributions. We must regulate political campaign contributions,” Angara said during a visit to The STAR’s office last Friday night.

With all these groups and individuals with vested interests dictating what they want to the elected politicians, Angara said that they have effectively put a roadblock on reforms in society.

The best way to regulate political behavior, Angara said, is to regulate political contributions.

He cited a bill pending in the Senate that aims to strengthen the political party system by allowing the state to provide subsidies to the accredited national political parties, on top of voluntary contributions from the private sector, to cover for the development programs of the parties and campaign expenditures.

Angara said that the idea is to make the politicians loyal to their political parties and not to their private benefactors.

He noted that in the United States, the cap on contributions by individuals was removed.

As a result, Angara said that “lawmaking in the United States is now largely dictated by vested interests.”

“That’s why I’m pushing for political party reform. So that you owe your political party,” Angara said.

The bill was reported out in plenary as Senate Bill 3214, which was left pending on second reading.

Apart from Angara, the other authors of the bill were Senators Franklin Drilon, Miriam Defensor- Santiago and Jinggoy Estrada.

Under the bill, individuals may contribute up to P100,000 to a political party while groups or organizations can give up to P1 million.

A state subsidy fund would also be put up to finance the allowable expenditures of the political parties.                 

ANGARA DRILON EDGARDO ANGARA GLOBAL ORGANIZATION OF PARLIAMENTARIANS AGAINST CORRUPTION MIRIAM DEFENSOR POLITICAL SANTIAGO AND JINGGOY ESTRADA SENATE BILL UNITED STATES
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