POSTSCRIPT / March 25, 2010 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Party-list nominees: Take off your masks

IDENTIFY YOURSELVES: By tomorrow, we should know which of the Party-lists running in the May 10 elections are just being used as Trojan horses of politicians and operators who cannot win a congressional seat on their own.

The Commission on Elections has required Party-lists to submit by March 26 their nominees to the House of Representatives in case the PL wins enough votes entitling it to at least one slot.

To garner one seat, a Party-list must get at least two percent of the votes cast for all PLs. (Earlier, Postscript erroneously said that the threshold for a PL winning a seat is two percent of all votes cast nationwide.)

The Constitution reserves 20 percent of all House seats for Party-lists. If those getting at least two percent are unable to occupy all 50 or so PL seats, the rest are given out down the line even to PLs getting less than two percent. The allocation is complicated and confusing.

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ADMIN BETS?: There are complaints this early that some Party-lists do not actually represent marginalized sectors as intended in the law and are just fronts of discredited politicians, administration bets and other shady characters.

Kabataan Party-list nominee Mark Louie Aquino said that presidential son Rep. Mikey Arroyo is a nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy, and that First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’s sister Lulu Arroyo is the representative of KASANGGA.

Aquino also called attention to Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes (1-UTAK), Trade Secretary Jesli Lapus (A TEACHER or ABAKADA), Energy Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan (ADAM), Director of Labor and Employment Information and Publication Service Nicon Fameronag (AHON), former Muslim Affairs Executive Director Acmad Tumawis (ALIF), former congressman Salacnib Baterina (APO), DILG Undersecretary Melchor Rosales (APOI), Philippine International Trading Corp. Undersecretary Teddie Elson Rivera (Aangat Tayo), and PAGCOR chair Ephraim Genuino (BIDA-Batang Iwas).

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SEKYU’S NOMINEES?: Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said: “Mikey Arroyo is not eligible to become a Party-list nominee. He does not come from the ranks of the marginalized. He is the incumbent congressman of his district, a member of the dominant political party Lakas-Kampi, and a son of the President. By no stretch of the imagination can he be considered marginalized or fit to represent the marginalized.”

He said Ang Galing Pinoy’s second nominee is Lubao Mayor Dennis Pineda, a known Arroyo ally, and its third nominee is Bacolor Mayor Romeo Dungca, also of Pampanga.

Reyes added: “Is it just coincidence that the top three nominees of AGP all hail from Pampanga and are known allies of Mrs. Arroyo? This Party-list claiming to represent marginalized security guards has nominees coming from just one province! We raise serious questions as to the eligibility of AGP as a Party-list.”

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BOYCOTT GAINS: Postscript is being swamped with reactions to its suggestion that voters SKIP THE PARTY-LIST portion of the ballot on May 10 — if they do not know the persons or nominees hiding behind the PL acronym.

Hopefully, a stinging boycott of Party-lists will send a signal that Filipinos are fed up with the flagrant prostitution of the PL system originally meant to give equal standing in Congress to marginalized, under-represented or disadvantaged sectors.

A sampling of reactions:

Enerageiron: Bright idea. I have not seen or heard any of the marginalized sectors’ lives getting better. Party-list congressmen are the ones accumulating assets. I know one who has been in his post for four years and now has a house worth P10.5 million and a fleet of cars.

Dennis Navarro: Splendid suggestion! We in the family will do just that – boycott Party-lists. The Cory Constitution is a bucket full of holes, and Party-list is one. Also, ambiguities like presidential appointments within 60 days of the election which did not specify the judiciary, the conflicting provisions on filling up SC vacancies, and whether an ex-president can run for the position again.

Mice and men: No wonder the Party-lists will fight tooth and nail to retain the Cory Constitution. They never had it so good.

Angge Soriano: Have often wondered why we vote for only one Party-list when there are 50 to 55 slots for Party-lists.

Jackamon_74: Agree 100 percent. Let’s skip/boycott the Party-list section. Originally it was well-meaning and aimed at empowering the marginalized sectors, but it has been bastardized, manipulated by greedy politicians. Pass it on.

NTZ239: (FDP) specifically said do not vote if you do not know who you are voting for. Do not just go in and randomly select a cool looking acronym or vote for an acronym because someone told you to. (FDP) is advocating voter education first, boycott second. I choose not to support one of the worst conceived ideas in the history of democracy.

Tasnavo: Agree. Pls lang mga voters, don’t vote any single Party-list rep this coming elections para magkaroon na talaga ng dahilan para tanggalin na ang walang silbing Party-list na ito sa Cory Constitution.

Paulitulitlang: Looks like the Cory Constitution has left behind a lousy legacy of the Party-list system. That Charter wanted to be “popular” by coming up with a multi-party system, but that system is just making a mess of our so called democracy.

Dasmagi: “Skip” is a nice word, but better is Boycott. The Party-list system is an experiment gone haywire with plenty of unintended, bad consequences. It lengthens the automated ballot unnecessarily. It opened a backdoor to the unelectable and/or the undesirable. Enough!

Moimoi: This is the best way to remove Party-list representation if we can’t do it by amending the defective Cory Constitution. These Party-lists are redundant and waste of taxpayer’s money. If we won’t vote for Party-lists time will come that it will die on its own. This PL representation is an abused privilege.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of March 25, 2010)

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