Saturday, May 26, 2012

When Party List System Becomes a Mockery of Philippine Democracy

By:  Gilbert M. Forbes

It is a couple of days less than a year but politicians are starting politicking.  The same with groups masquerading to represent the under represented, underprivileged segments of the society, they too are poised at trying to garner a place at congress.

Its all about money why many scampered to get 
elected in congress through the party list system.
The primary objective of the party list system is to encourage the marginalized, underprivileged at mobilizing and organizing themselves to get elected and be represented at the house of representatives.  Marginalized sectors are the fisher folks, farmers, laborers, ethnic minorities, the urban poor and others.

Actually, congressmen from different legislative districts should have been enough if only voters are able to elect the one who will rightfully represent their interests.  The sad fact is they don’t.  So they are now fallen victim not only of the trapos of their legislative districts but of the party list system.

Considering the current situation, many are aware that except those affiliated with ideological parties from the right, center and left, we don’t have a nationally organized party list group that really represents what they claim to represent as such, voices and stand on varying issues are divided.  For example, the farmers have a divided stand on agrarian issues, the workers on labor issues, and youth and teachers on education, etc.  Teachers alone are said to be represented by different party lists all are saying that they are speaking in their behalf.  The intentions however are very obvious for its more on money and ideological preferences rather than establishing a common ground.

There are actually non-ideological organizations or liberal mass organizations that had been organized in the early and late 90’s nation wide in scale just before the party list system came into being.  However, they slowly dissipated.

Organizing and the organized movement were strong during the repressive regime of the Marcos era.  But when democracy returns, even when it is oligarchic, it slowly weakened and was just concentrated on politically and ideologically oriented movements of which even themselves are experiencing relative decrease in membership just before the party list system.

There was such an identified resurgence but it is for the purpose of getting elected as a party list representative.  For example, security guards are said to be organized for this purpose but it is doubtful if they really are or the security agencies owners.  Electric Cooperatives under National Electrification Administration-NEA (this author doubt if they could really be considered cooperatives for other than distributing expensive electricity to their members, its members receive and benefit nothing from it except its employees particularly the members of the board of directors), LPG Distributors and lots more which undoubtedly don’t fall to the classification of being marginalized.

What good have the public gained from them.  What have they done that benefitted the sectors they allegedly represent?  Where all the billions of pesos as CDF go?

The party list system has become the biggest source of livelihood and quick source of money for the rich wannabes together with their cohorts.  This also has become the easy route to congress for undesirables, for strengthening political dynasties of the privilege few or for those lost from previous elections and has wanted to return—a blatant mockery of the fundamental tenets of democracy.

Any individual who is powerful, popular, and rich enough could invest in organizing party list organization and get a chance to be elected.  In effect, it has become a lucrative investment.

Indeed, this is a warning for every voter when selecting for a party list group.  Better not vote any if one isn’t sure or doesn’t know much about his/her choice particularly its track record.

You may also like reading:  Economic Development Through Good Governance and Active Social Involvement

(Apart from working in the government as an educator.  The writer has been active in the social movement working and helping for social transformation as a former student leader and member of Alyansa ng mga Kristiyanong Mag-aaral.  He holds a Bachelor and MA in Educational Management (CAR) from the Philippine Normal University)
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