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Party-list system should be amended not abolished —Gabriela

House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list warned that abolishing the country's party-list system will be "problematic" as it would deny marginalized sectors a chance for representation.

Brosas was responding to the suggestion of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa that the party-list system only resulted in redundancy of representation and was being abused by politicians. 

“That view [of dela Rosa] is problematic because our laws ensure that 20% of the seats in the House of Representatives are for party-list, to serve as check and balance. We should be faithful to the law,” Brosas said in a Super Radyo sa DZBB interview on Friday.

“How can representatives from sectors needing dire attention secure seats without it? We don’t see removing party-list representatives helping in securing just representation,” Brosas added.

Brosas, however, conceded that the party-list law should be amended because the law, which has since been amended by a number of Supreme Court decisions on several cases, allowed party-list groups backed by the government and even big businesses to get elected.

“What we are pushing for is for the law to be amended so that the party-list system won’t be used by the big business to piggy back on,” Brosas said.

Brosas also chided dela Rosa for going after the party-list system, given that senators do not have a say under a constitutional convention (con-con) that administration lawmakers are pushing for in amending the 1987 Constitution.

“Baka iyong concerns niya ay dahil they will not have any say in con-con. Baka sila ang mabuwag, kaya baka ganyan siya,” Brosas said.

(His concern is that maybe they will not have any say in a con-con or that they might be discarded)

Under the con-con method, the public will elect convention delegates to draft the new Constitution. 

Under the party-list law, a party-list group gets one seat in the House of Representatives if it is able to garner 2% of the votes cast in the party-list race. The number of seats will increase if the votes earned go beyond 2% of the votes cast in the party-list race, but the seats could not exceed three.

A party-list group which failed to earn at least 2% of the votes cast, however, could still win a House seat provided that the 20% allotment for party-list representatives has not been filled by those party-list groups which got at least 2% of the votes cast.

A 2013 Supreme Court decision on Abang Lingkod vs. Comelec case states that the party-list law “does not require groups intending to register under the party-list system to submit proof of their track record as a group.” —Llanesca Panti/ VAL GMA Integrated News