Duterte slams ‘evil’ party-list system

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte slams âevilâ party-list system
Duterte, who claimed that at least three million Filipinos are addicted to illegal drugs, said some generals who are into the narcotics trade ran for public office as party-list representatives.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte criticized the country’s party-list system, calling it an “evil” system funded by the rich and exploited by generals involved in illegal drugs.  

Duterte, who claimed that at least three million Filipinos are addicted to illegal drugs, said some generals who are into the narcotics trade ran for public office as party-list representatives.

“They (generals) stayed for a while then they ran for public office through the party-list. This party-list, that’s one evil. Everyone involved there are the rich,” Duterte said during the oath taking of newly elected local officials in Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday. 

“The rich people fund the party-list. They are named after laborers but their nominees are the millionaires,” he added. 

Duterte said some police officials could not act on the drug problem because of generals who are members of party-list groups. 

“They were the ones lording it over the region. And even if you ask any of the policemen, they couldn’t act on it because there were nine generals involved. And to the stupidity of the Filipinos, they won in the party-list system,” Duterte said. 

Duterte stressed the party-list system no longer serves its purpose, which is to help the marginalized sectors of society.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo could not say whether Duterte was pushing for the abolition of the party-list system.

“He is expressing an idea and that’s for the Comelec to respond,” Panelo told a press briefing yesterday, referring to the Commission on Elections. ?Enacted in 1995, the Party-List System Act sought to allow Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors to become members of the House of Representatives.

In 2013, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled the party-list system is not limited to marginalized groups and must be opened even to political organizations regardless of size.

The SC said requiring all national and regional parties under the party-list system to represent the marginalized and underrepresented would deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-oriented parties from the party-list system. 

The Constitution provides that 20 percent of the members of the House, or 61 seats in the 2019 elections, should come from the party-list ranks.

At least 61 party-list groups have representatives to the coming 18th Congress that opens next month.?Critics have claimed the party-list system has been bastardized and has become a backdoor to Congress of wealthy politicians and clans.

A party-list representative, Michael Romero of 1-Pacman, was the richest lawmaker in the House of Representatives last year, according to the summary of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth of members of the chamber.

Romero, son of construction magnate Reghis Romero II, declared a net worth of about P7.86 billion.    – With Edith Regalado



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