The electoral watchdog Kontra Daya (actually, Towards Dishonest) has discovered that seven out of 10 teams working for party-list seats within the Home of Representatives are within the palms of removed from marginalized and much from unvoiced sectors and pursuits.
Their findings have revived calls for to amend the 1994 Celebration-Checklist Act (Republic Act 7941) as a result of they validate the remark of most election watch teams that the Celebration-Checklist system has turn out to be yet one more means by means of which political dynasties and conventional politicians are perpetrating their dominance in Congress. It has morphed into the very antithesis of the 1987 Structure’s intent to guarantee “proportional illustration” within the Home of Representatives.
Kontra Daya mentioned in a March 3 assertion that “at the very least 120 out of 177 party-list teams [are] recognized with political clans and massive companies [and have] incumbent native officers, connections with the federal government and navy, unknown or unclear representations, and pending courtroom instances and felony expenses…”
These teams are among the many organizations licensed by the Fee on Elections (Comelec) as certified to run for the seats reserved in Congress for party-list checklist formations. Kontra Daya has subsequently requested the Comelec to elucidate why it’s permitting them, with their political connections and their presumably ample marketing campaign funds, to contest Congressional seats towards these teams that may legitimately converse for the unrepresented sectors of Philippine society.
Three years in the past, the Comelec did contemplate asking Congress to amend RA 7941 to plug the loopholes in it that enable even billionaires and dynasts to faux that they signify the poor, the marginalized, and the unvoiced legions who account for at the very least 20% of the Philippines’ 100 million-plus inhabitants. However not solely has it since reneged on that intent — that was in 2019 — the present Decrease Chamber can also be unlikely to take action. The dynastic pursuits of its majority members are opposite to creating that physique actually serve the unvoiced and marginalized sectors of Philippine society.
The 1987 Structure specifies that the party-list seats within the Home of Representatives “shall be stuffed by the labor, peasant, city poor, indigenous cultural communities, ladies, youth, and such different sectors as could also be offered by regulation, besides the spiritual sector.”
Within the consciousness that such communities have traditionally been denied a voice within the legislative course of, the drafters of the Individuals Energy Structure needed to guarantee them some participation on this nation’s governance, and to considerably appropriate the disproportional illustration in Congress of a handful of political dynasties.
The social and financial reforms their participation may make attainable, it was hoped, would assist put a cease to the rebellions and uprisings — the “insurgencies” — which were fueled by the poverty and inequality which have haunted this nation for hundreds of years.
The Constitutional provision on the Celebration-Checklist system is an implicit acknowledgement that regardless of the Philippines’ supposedly democratic character, its legislature has for many years since 1946 been dominated by political dynasties and/or their surrogates, brokers, and allies whose financial and political pursuits are antithetical to the making of a simply society.
The Celebration-Checklist System was alleged to appropriate that anomaly.
However by means of a collection of choices, the Supreme Courtroom made it attainable for the over-represented political events in addition to those that declare to signify such sectors as tricycle drivers and safety guards, however who’re neither, to hunt party-list seats.
Billionaires have been thus among the many nominees of sure victorious party-list teams in 2019, in addition to authorities officers and oligarchs from numerous dynasties. A system supposed to signify the marginalized has fallen into the palms of essentially the most corrupt and most self-aggrandizing political elite in Southeast Asia and its minions whose monopoly over energy has made reforms unattainable by means of legislative means — and made rebellions and armed social actions inevitable.
Just like the passage of an anti-dynasty regulation, any modification to RA 7941, as is now being demanded in order to make illustration within the Home at the very least partly proportional, is doomed to fail. What may prosper are modifications in it that may make the system much more pliable to the manipulation of the creatures who declare to be this nation’s leaders. Their main purpose could be the failure of previous and current regimes to forestall the election of the party-list teams that really signify marginalized sectors.
Regardless of police and navy harassment, threats, and even the homicide by supposedly unknown assailants of a few of their leaders, these teams nonetheless once more gained seats within the Home in 2019 and will as soon as once more achieve this this Might. Their numbers have been diminished, however even that’s unacceptable to the current regime on the argument that they’re not more than “fronts,” allies, and a part of the “authorized infrastructure” of the Communist Celebration of the Philippines (CPP).
Any similarity between the packages of these teams and people of the CPP doesn’t show that allegation. However their detractors “red-tagged” them in 2019 and are doing the identical at this time, even supposing what’s at difficulty is whether or not their presence in Congress has been and will proceed to be of any worth to the democratic crucial of giving the marginalized a voice in governance to allow them to be a part of the discourse on tips on how to handle the nation’s issues.
The Celebration-Checklist system is a complicated try and make authorities conscious of the plight of the poor, the underprivileged, and the powerless, which ignoring fed and continues to feed social unrest and rise up.
That stage of sophistication is completely absent within the Duterte regime and its police and navy loyalists, for whom State violence is the only resolution to any downside. Oddly sufficient, it was the Fidel Ramos Presidency that supported and supplemented the Celebration-Checklist system’s potential to make authorities open to reforms.
The identical administration resumed peace talks with each the CPP and the Moro Nationwide Liberation Entrance (MNLF), whereas its allies within the then Congress repealed the Anti-Subversion Legislation (RA 1700) in 1992. The thought was to endow reformists and even revolutionaries the chance to legally work for his or her packages, and even get elected to public workplace. It may persuade the dispossessed and discontented that they needn’t take up arms as a result of the political system works nicely sufficient to heed the demand for reforms and even radical change.
However that intelligent strategy at preserving the ruling system has met solely restricted success. It’s failing, amongst different causes, as a result of dynastic dominance over authorities establishments has made working for public workplace an unique billionaire and warlord sport, and due to police and navy allegiance to their native and overseas patrons and the unjust order that has so enriched and empowered them.
The perversion of the Celebration-Checklist system into its reverse, and the exclusion of the powerless and unvoiced from participation in their very own governance partly clarify why rebellions and so-called “insurgencies” have been, and will at all times be, a part of the Philippine panorama.
However it may additionally assist finish the oligarchy’s decades-long monopoly over the political energy it has so steadfastly denied the marginalized hundreds of thousands on this rumored democracy. Greater than the supposed “fronts” of the CPP, what the demise of the Celebration-Checklist system because it was initially conceived is telling the poor and the powerless is that reforms can solely be achieved by means of armed means. The political clans and dynasties nonetheless in complete management of governance are thereby undermining the very social order that has benefitted and served them so nicely; they’re their very own worst enemies.
Luis V. Teodoro is on Fb and Twitter (@luisteodoro).