Pulse Asia Survey in 2007

I was in law school when I first heard about the Party List System. Even then, I did not fully understand the intricacies of the said innovation in our electoral system. I do not particularly recall anymore when this was actually implemented. If I am not mistaken, it is just of recent times that this system is being applied (or misapplied?).

The first controversial issue I recall about party list is that about Richard Gomez and his supposed Party List Group MAD (Mamamayang Ayaw sa Droga). The Supreme Court disqualified the said group in its party list bid for being a government funded group. The Highest Court said it defeats the purpose for which the Party List System was created. Recently, however, more serious issues about the Party List System are swiftly coming out.

For someone who knows a bit about the law, I have been surprised with the unbelievable popularity that the system has acquired such that many accredited party list groups are being represented by quite controversial nominees. There are words that some nominees are even millionaires, wives of you-know-who or worse, incumbent government officials whose terms have ended, but still want to maintain an electoral post.

I really cannot say anything about this kind of set up. The law, as it stands now, is hardly stringent on its requirements before a nominee can represent a certain party list group. It is almost the same for a regular congressional seat, except for the requirement of bonafide membership in the group it seeks to represent. I just personally feel that for a country like ours, maybe we need stricter requirements.

I don’t know. Filipinos are so intelligent and they have an exceptional way of bending rules, or of abusing laws through their loopholes. Now maybe there is nothing wrong with that. But for a country which has budget deficit like ours and which ranks high among the most corrupt ones in the world, maybe we should come up with laws which have no room for interpretation or bending. Aside from the problem of proper implementation, the laws that we have are just as flawed as the ones who made them. Even if the intentions behind the law seem so noble, the way the law is framed and the way it is implemented blur out this noble intention.

Of course, if I have the millions and I want a congressional seat, I can just form a group which represents a “marginalized” sector and fund the group until it gets wide media mileage enough for the public to write it down in their ballots. After all, half the voting public probably isn’t even sure which party list to vote on the day of election itself. The law’s loopholes made it confusing enough that voting responsibly has become difficult.