MANILA, Philippines – If President Rodrigo Duterte has his way, one of the amendments to the Constitution will include the abolition of all party lists.
“Kapag bago ang Constitution, I will insist, ‘no party list.’ Inabuso lahat ‘yan,” he said on Friday, July 29, while in a military camp in Asuncion, Davao del Norte.
(When the Constitution is amended, I will insist, no party list. They abused it.)
Duterte wants party lists to be taken out of the political system because he believes they are created by the wealthy as platforms to seek positions in Congress.
According to Duterte, rich and powerful Filipinos use their resources to create associations or groups that ride on advocacies to convince citizens to vote for them.
“Kasi ito ‘yung pera, kahit ano diyan mabili mo, United Idiots Association. Tatakbo. Nagkalat kayo diyan,” said the President.
(Because they can buy anything with their money, United Idiots Association. Then they will run. They are all over the place.)
During national elections, Filipino voters are allowed to vote for a party-list group. The representatives of the winning party lists get seats in the House of Representatives.
“Yung mga mayayaman, representing the what? The security guards? (The rich represent what? The security guards?)” he said.
More than the planned Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), Duterte said the party list is a “mockery” of the law.
“That’s the mockery of the law. 'Yan talaga ang pinakabastos magawa mo (That’s the most insulting thing you can do),” he said.
In the same speech, Duterte said he prefers a Constituent Assembly to a Constitutional Convention, reasoning that the latter would be costly. He defended the proposal of Con-Ass, saying lawmakers are voted by Filipinos and thus are trustworthy enough to facilitate Charter change.
He, however, did not explain how his trust for lawmakers is consistent with his belief that congressmen from party lists abused the political system to attain their positions of power. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.