MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – President Benigno Aquino III has signed into a law a measure redistricting Quezon City.
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the law was “long-overdue” and should have been passed way back in 1992. He said this is now in time for the 2013 elections.
Based on House Bill 4245, the second legislative district of Quezon City would be reapportioned to create two new districts. These will then become the 5th and 6th congressional districts.
Senator Marcos said, “with the large population of Quezon City, the people of this local government unit undoubtedly deserve additional seats in the House of Representatives.” Marcos was the sponsor of the bill at the Senate.
He said District 2 alone has a “constituency in size and land area bigger than all the other existing districts in Quezon City combined.”
Prior to the redistricting efforts, District 2 alone accounted for already more than 1.6 million of the entire population of the Quezon City, which totaled 2.7 million as of the first quarter of 2012.
The city council will also have 12 additional members, based on the law mandating the election of six councilors for each of Quezon City’s legislative districts.
Marcos said the redistricting in Quezon City is not an act of gerrymandering, or the practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating boundaries to favor one party.
“Itong kwestyon sa redistricting kailangang pag-usapan kasi hindi naman siguro mapipigil ang pagdami ng Pilipino so habang dumadami, dadami ng dadami ang distrito,” Marcos told dzMM’s “Dos Por Dos” on Tuesday.
“Ito ay talagang matagal na [na panukala]. Walang advantage ang kahit sino diyan na makukuha. In fact, ‘yung hinating distrito, palagay ko masasabi na sila ang malulugi kasi magiging mas maliit ang distrito. Pero kung minsan kailangan nating tanggapin na hindi nase-serbisan kapag madami na masyadong tao,” he added.
Marcos, however, acknowledged that a “style” of gerrymandering is being practiced by other politicians who create new districts to prevent running against an ally.
“Ang tendency ngayon dahil natatapos na ang 3 term ng isang tao, gawa nalang tayo ng bagong distrito at doon nalang ako tatakbo para hindi ko makakalaban ang mga kasama ko. ’Yun ang style naman natin dito sa Pilipinas na pwedeng tawaging gerrymandering para pwede ma-accommodate ‘yung mga politiko na nais tumakbo pero naubusan na ng 3 term,” he said.
Because of this, Marcos reiterated his call for a Charter change to adjust term limits.
“Kaya itong term limits na ito, napapagusapan natin ‘yung charter change, baka iyan ay pwede nating pagusapan,” he said.
Congressmen and local officials are only allowed 3 consecutive terms. They can, however, run again after skipping one term.