MANILA, Philippines – Representatives of 42 more organizations filed their nomination and acceptance certificates for the party list on Wednesday, October 14, before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
They brought the total number of groups that have done so to 65.
Many of the groups whose members appeared before the Comelec main office in Intramuros on Wednesday have secured seats in the House of Representatives in the past.
There are currently 56 party-list representatives from 41 party-list groups in the 16th Congress.
This week marks the filing of certificates of nominations and acceptance for party-list groups vying for congressional seats in the 2016 polls.
Around 200 groups earlier sought accreditation before the election commission this 2015. They are in addition to some 160 groups that have already been accredited in past elections.
The party list is a system of proportional representation meant to better represent marginalized sectors as well as groups lacking “well-defined constituencies.”
Republic Act 7941 or the Party-List System Act allocates 20% of the total seats in the House of Representatives to party-list representatives.
Among the more prominent party-list nominees, human rights lawyer Harry Roque showed up before the election commission in a surprising move. He originally considered running for senator with the opposition party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Roque has been a vocal ally of Vice President Jejomar Binay, UNA’s presidential bet. He has been defending the former long-time Makati mayor amid the criminal charges he has faced.
Roque is a nominee for the Kabayan (Kabalikat ng Mamamayan), described as a “multi-sectoral party list dedicated to the promotion of the economic rights of health, housing, and livelihood.”
Current Cibac Representative Sherwin Tugna also appeared to file his party’s nomination certificate for the 2016 polls, saying among his group’s priorities should it be eligible for seats again in the next Congress are an anti-dynasty law and the freedom of information law.
Cibac currently has two representatives in Congress.
Of the lesser known nominees, farmer Honorio Samañego showed to the press the scars in his hand that represent his toil as an agricultural worker.
Honorio Samanego, nominee for farmers group Kaisahan ng mga Maliliit na Magsasaka, says he's been a farmer for 50yrs pic.twitter.com/n0mpyGL421— Buena Bernal (@buenabernal) October 14, 2015
Samañego, party-list nominee for farmers’ group Kaisahan ng mga Maliliit na Magsasaka, said he has been a farmer for almost 5 decades now.
However, following a controversial 2013 Supreme Court (SC) decision which reversed a decade-old rule in party list accreditation, nominees of party-list groups do not necessarily have to be from the sector they represent. The nominees only need a “track record of advocacy for their respective sectors.”
This opens the door to more traditional representatives or even politicians who claim to possess this track record to obtain a seat in Congress.
With the SC ruling, organizations participating in the party are no longer limited to those that represent marginalized sectors.
Party-list groups can now either represent the “marginalized and underrepresented” or those who lack “well-defined political constituencies.”
Sectors that lack “well-defined political constituencies” include professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth.
Marginalized and underrepresented sectors, on the other hand, include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other similar sectors. – Rappler.com