The Party-list System

Do we need a party-list system in the first place?

The 1987 Constitution acknowledged that the poor and marginalized deserve representation in our political system. In 1998, Republic Act 6674 mandated that party-list representatives would then be elected, besides the congressmen elected per district to the House of Representatives. The law in fact says that 20% of all seats (52 or 53 seats) in the House of Representatives should be occupied by partylist representatives!

Unlike our usual congressmen, party-list representatives are elected by party, not individually. This makes party politics in our country stronger by encouraging the development of genuine parties with real platforms, whose representatives are accountable to their members. This is a big change from our current set-up where politicians just transfer from one generic “party” to the other like butterflies, with no concrete agenda except motherhood statements that do not vary from one election to the next.

But the best thing about the party-list system is that it allows for citizens’ participation in the lawmaking process. Whereas our elections are usually dominated by the rich, popular and powerful, the party-list system allows us—ordinary, frustrated but hopeful citizens—to run and advance our causes and to have a voice in Congress.

Know more about the party-list system act at the COMELEC website.

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