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Con-Com eyes party-appointed lawmakers under amended charter to rid House of ‘balimbings’

A sub-committee of the Constitutional Committee tasked to review the 1987 Constitution is looking to somehow address the issue of political turncoatism particularly in the legislature.

Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Eduardo Nachura, chair of the Subcommittee on the Structure of the Federal Government, said the sub-panel was considering a system wherein some lawmakers would be appointed by political parties, in the hopes ridding the chamber of political turncoats or colloquially known as a "balimbing."

Under the subpanel's proposal, 60 percent of the House will be composed of congressmen and women elected from their respective legislative districts, while the remaining 40 percent will consist of "proportional representation," where successful national, regional, or sectoral parties will name their representatives.

Sectoral representation will come from "socio-economically disadvantaged" sectors of labor, peasants, fisherfolk, indigenous people, and urban poor, Nachura said.

"If you're incumbent already, na-appoint ka na, kasama ka sa proportional representation list, nandun ka na and you switch political parties, automatically you will be dropped as member of the House of Representatives for changing political parties," Nachura said.

"Remember, it is the political party that names you as congressman. So pag umalis ka, tanggal ka rin sa Congress," he added.

The subcommittee has yet to vote on whether to propose that a losing candidate may be appointed congressman by a winning party.

"I am sure that everyone will agree na pag natalo ka sa eleksiyon, hindi naman dapat i-appoint. Kasi inayawan na ng tao," Nachura said.

The subcommittee also recommends a term of office of two years, with one re-election, for elective public officials, including the president, vice president, and legislators.

These proposals will be subject to the approval of the Con-com en banc, while the work of the Con-com itself may or may not be accepted by Congress. — with Nicole-Anne Lagrimas/NB/MDM/KBK, GMA News