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Padilla wants party-list system abolition amid Cha-cha talks

Senator Robin Padilla on Sunday said the party-list system should be abolished as initiatives to amend the 1987 Constitution through a constitutional convention continue.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, Padilla, who chairs the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, said it was time “to end the cycle of people voting for candidates on the basis of popularity and wealth.”

“Kung mapupunta tayo sa con-con, ‘yan dapat una nating gibain. Dahil ang party-list system ay, my goodness gracious, ‘di ko na makita. Mula magdesisyon ang ating Korte Suprema na payagan na pati mga mayayaman, nawala na po ng anghang at sustansya. Eh dapat po ‘yan eh mga sektor na ‘di naririnig,” he said.

(If we end up in a con-con, we should demolish the party-list system first. My goodness gracious, I can't see it anymore. Ever since the Supreme Court decided to allow even the rich to represent, it has lost its substance. It should come only from sectors that are not heard of.)

“Ang kinatawan [sa sistemang ito], naging katawa-tawa,” he added.

(The representatives of the party-list system have become laughable.)

The neophyte lawmaker said the public should vote for candidates based on their party advocacy,  and not because of their popularity or wealth.

“Tigilan na po natin ang kaboboto dahil sikat at dahil ito may pera. Alam niyo kung nabago natin ang Constitution at mapalakas natin ang partido, ang iboboto niyo na po ang adhikain ng partido, ‘di na ‘yung sikat,” Padilla said.

(Let's stop voting for candidates because they’re popular and have money. If we change the Constitution and strengthen the party, people will vote for the advocacy of the party, not for its popularity.)

Padilla, one of the proponents of Charter change in the Senate, earlier said that the pledges secured by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. during his foreign trips will not materialize if the economic provisions of the Constitution will not be amended.

But for Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) in the House of Representatives, the laws, including a Supreme Court decision in the Paglaum vs. Comelec case, are clear: the party-list system is in place to lend a voice to the already marginalized groups, regardless of financial capacity of party-list group nominees.

PCFI was referring to the Paglaum v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 203766 Supreme Court decision dated April 2, 2013.

“Paglaum v. COMELEC is inclusive because it upholds the right of party-list organizations who champion the causes of the poor and marginalized and of other sectors whose voices must be heard when Congress formulates laws and sets national policies, programs, and projects. Being a champion means being in solidarity with the sectors represented and supported,” the PCFI said.

“Hindi kailangang dukha ang kinatawan ng isang party-list. Ang kailangan lamang ay tunay na kinakampeon ng isang party-list nominee ang kapakanan ng mga naaapi at naisasantabi sa lipunan. The Supreme Court understood the clear intent and language of the Constitution and the enabling Party-list Act:  to make sure other voices are heard, other sectors are seen,” the PCFI added.

Paglaum v. Comelec, the PCFI said, defends democracy and inclusion of marginalized voices.

“With Paglaum v. COMELEC, the Supreme Court made sure [to stress] why and how party-lists must be represented in Congress. We are a society of laws and the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of questions of law within the jurisdiction given by the Constitution to the Court to resolve,” PCFI added.—LDF, GMA Integrated News