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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

The anomaly of party-list representation

The representatives are not even marginalized.

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Santa Banana, that incident at the airport where ACT-OFW Party-List Rep. Aniceto Bertiz flaunted his arrogance and abrasiveness just because he was made to remove his shoes shows the anomaly of party-list representation in the country.

Records of deliberation during the framing of the 1987 charter show that the system was copied from the constitution of countries under a parliamentary form.

When the voting came to whether the parliamentary system must be continued, those in favor lost by one vote. Hence, the unitary system was restored. Despite this, party-list representation was maintained.

The reason for this was that then-President Cory Aquino wanted her Leftist friends to be part of Congress.

I have always maintained that the party-list system has no place in government. Why make the people pay the salaries of Leftists serving in government? This only funds the rallies of their communist-inspired friends.

For many years, I have been saying that if the Constitution is amended, party-list representation should be the first to go.

It’s a ripoff. Those who are supposed to represent marginalized groups are millionaires and billionaires. They are led by Michael Romero of 1-Pacman with more than P7 billion to his name, and Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, the wife of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, with no less than P1.4 billion.

Even that arrogant Bertiz is among the millionaires, with P53 million.

The party-list system is indeed a big joke!

How do they even get elected? I am taking off from what my colleague, former Ambassador to Greece Rigoberto Tiglao, said that a party-list group is carried in the traditional territory-based representation. This explains why party-list representatives are merely extensions of provincial and regional clans.

The party-list system is a mockery of democracy! People representing marginalized groups are themselves in no way marginalized at all. Worse, they breed people like Bertiz who think being in Congress entitles him to arrogant and self-important behavior.

It has also spawned the formation of fake marginalized groups not contemplated by the Constitution.

There is a lot of graft and corruption that goes with this starting from the Commission on Elections.

The representation of moneyed people as party-list representatives is only the tip of the iceberg.

* * *

Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson has resigned. Since it has been said that only the President can fire her, Mr. Duterte must have realized that Uson was not already embarrassing him. She has become a barnacle in the ship of state. This must be excised.

I have no doubt that even Secretary Martin Andanar is more than relieved with Uson out of the picture. She has done enough damage to the agency and to the President.

I think it’s about time the Office of the Press Secretary is brought back.

* * *

The question of whether Senator Antonio Trillanes applied for amnesty and complied with all its requirements now boils down to credibility. Who can we believe—AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez who said that the senator applied for amnesty, or Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque who insists that Galvez is not a lawyer? Roque says he would rather rely on the judge who issued a warrant for Trillanes’ arrest.

I am inclined to believe the Chief of Staff. It is the military that keeps the records. Just how and why the original copy disappeared is a mystery.

One of the two judges handling the Trillanes case may have issued an arrest warrant, but until the Supreme Court hands down its decision, I will suspend my own judgment.

I personally do not like Trillanes for his arrogance and abrasiveness, but still I believe we need more people like him who are courageous in voicing their dissent. Absence of dissent could only promote tyranny.

* * *

Roque is saying six Cabinet members are running for public office in next year’s election.

I can think of Roque himself, special assistant Bong Go, political affairs adviser Francis Tolentino, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and perhaps Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

I wonder who the others are. 


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