De Lima’s push for partylist system reforms gets boost from experts

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Various experts have endorsed the passage of a Senate proposal authored by Sen. Leila M. de Lima which seeks to introduce reforms to the 24-year-old Partylist System Law to prevent it from being abused by rich political clans and big businesses.

In the recent Senate hearing, Ateneo School of Governance Dean Ronald Mendoza, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform Executive Director Ramon Casiple, Philippine Institute for Development Studies Senior Research Fellow Jose Albert and former Rep. Erin Tanada have all expressed their support behind Senate Bill (SB) No. 372 which De Lima authored.

Mendoza said he is fully supporting De Lima’s measure, specifically its anti-dynasty provision, as it will give deserving representatives from genuine marginalized sectors a chance to serve their respective constituency.

“Political dynasties in the country have hijacked majority of the partylist congressional seats,” Mendoza told the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation chaired by Sen. Imee Marcos

“I don’t think this is sustainable situation for our partylist because it erodes the credibility of that particular reform,” he added.

Albert, for his part, called De Lima’s measure as welcome development since it would give genuine marginalized groups the voice and the ability to push for their advocacy in Congress.

“As of now, the term ‘partylist’ has become synonymous to certain types of agenda na hindi siya tugma sa idea before of the framers of the Constitution na bigyan ng boses ang lahat ng tao,” he said.

Casiple also gave his approval for the measure’s passage as he echoed Albert’s observation that it would strengthen participation of marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

“Maganda ang idea and we in fact support na talagang gumawa pa ng dagdag na mga provisions for participation of marginalized and underrepresented sectors,” he said.

Tanada, a lawyer by profession, also endorsed De Lima’s push to revisit the partylist system so as to include an anti-dynasty provision in the law.

Meanwhile, Mendoza suggested that reforms should not focus only on the partylist law, but in other measures as well, such as political party reform law and anti-dynasty law.

“I think the intention of leaders like Sen. De Lima is to highlight that they work together and reinforce each other,” said Mendoza.

De Lima’s SB No. 372 seeks to ensure that only the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors of society are genuinely represented in lawmaking process.

If passed into law, the bill will plug the loopholes conveniently used and circumvented by politicians with vested interests to make a mockery of the system and vault themselves to power.

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