TWO more party-list solons have expressed disappointment over President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to abolish the party-list system.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said “not all party-lists are bad and useless.”
They appealed to President Duterte to just fix and reform the system instead of scrapping it.
According to Villarin, the party-list groups, like Akbayan, have helped in the successful passing of landmark legislation such as Reproductive Health Law, the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Law, and the Philippine Competition Act.
“The party-list system was instituted by framers of the 1987 Constitution to enhance proportional representation and uplift the plight of all Filipinos, including the underrepresented sectors,” Villarin said.
Party-lists also continue to push for their advocacies in public health, labor, citizen empowerment, and many others, Villarin added.
Historically, party-lists have been subject to wide discussion and debate partly due to the changes in the Supreme Court’s and the Commission on Elections’s interpretations regarding party-lists.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would like party-lists to be dissolved and banned under the federal government that he envisions.
But Villarin insisted that the government should instead address the systemic causes ingrained within the traditional political culture that affect the legislature’s credibility in truly representing the people.
“What the President should do is follow and implement the constitutional mandate of abolishing political dynasties. Many of them are in fact now allied with him,” the lawmaker said.
For his part, urged the President to initiate a review of the party-list system law instead of calling for its abolition.
“It would be wise for the President to call for a review or investigation on the party-list system law before having any pronouncement,” Alejano said.
The Magdalo solon believes that a comprehensive review of the implementation of the 21-year- old law may help in preserving the true intention of RA 7941 which is to promote proportional representation in the election of representatives in the House of Representatives and promote and propose legislation meant to address the problems of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
He further cautioned the President against making sweeping statements as there are many well-meaning party-list groups that have successfully and actively pursued the interests of the sector they represent in Congress.