Next best thing
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

The decision of the Comelec to make random the listing of accredited party-list groups on the ballot in the 2019 midterm elections is the next best thing to actually doing away with the party-list system in Philippine elections. As even the most uneducated Filipino must have realized by now, this system is a travesty of real electoral representation.

But since it would take real work like constitutional reform to do away with the party-list system, foisted upon the Filipino people by the Cory Aquino government in one of its worst hypocritical window-dressing initiatives, then making random the listing of party-list groups that should never have been on the ballot is the next best thing.

Party-list groups are a duplication of the electoral representation already in place and vested in our congressmen and senators. The party-list system may work and even be necessary in other countries were political parties are clearly defined by their platforms and party principles.

But in the Philippines political parties have no clearly-defined platforms and principles. They merely embrace advocacies that are convenient to them at any given moment. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that virtually all political parties have the same all-encompassing platforms.

As such, all parties cater, or at least make it appear that they cater, to the concerns of each and every sector imaginable in a poor country like the Philippines. Anybody who has ever listened to a politician talk will not take long to realize that he claims to represent the same sectors already claimed by the previous politician, and will be claimed by the next, and so on and so forth.

In other words, there is no sector in the Philippines, however marginalized, that is not already amply represented by senators and congressmen. The insistence of the Cory Aquino government to institutionalize the party-list system was, therefore, not only hypocritical, it was a complete duplication of functions and thus a total waste of precious resources.

And because it was hypocritical and a travesty to begin with, it did not take long for the party-list system to be corrupted, abused and made a mockery of. And nowhere is this made more apparent in the adoption of names in such a way that they land first, or at least near the top of the list, in the ballot, winning being everything and not sincerity reflective of real advocacy.

So the Comelec decision, while actually doing nothing to remove party-list groups altogether from the political system, will at least disturb, scatter, and throw the pack of wolves into disarray. Hopefully, the rearrangement of names will become so confusing that the wolves will start fighting among themselves that they eventually kill the system with their own hands.

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