MANILA - Presidential candidate and Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday said a law should be passed banning politicians from jumping from one party to another, saying the practice has "weakened" the Philippines' political system.
A law against political turncoatism should be passed to "force" politicians into joining parties based on principles, Robredo said during the second 2022 PiliPinas presidential debate sponsored by the Commission on Elections.
"Nakikita natin na 'yung mga kandidato ngayon na tumatakbo hindi na tinitingnan kung ano 'yung pinaglalaban ng partido nila, parating political convenience na lang 'yung sinusunod," she said.
"Habang ina-allow natin 'yung turncoatism, habang inaallow natin 'yung palipat-lipat na partido, hindi natin maaasahan na lalakas 'yung mga political parties kasi puwede siyang i-dispose anytime," she said.
Presidential candidate and former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales agreed, saying politicians in the Philippines "do not understand what it means to have a political party."
"'Yan po ay parang electoral campaign machinery lang na kung saan siya mananalo, doon lilipat," Gonzales said.
"Kailangan simulan natin ipaunawa sa ating mga kababayan ano ang ibig sabihin ng pagkakaroon ng political parties para kapag eleksyon na natin, ang pinipili modelo ng lipunan at hindi kung sino sino lang," he said.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso and labor leader Leody De Guzman both said that a two-party system may push more politicians to remain loyal to ideologies instead of changing affiliations every election season.
"It's high time to create a 2-party system," said Domagoso, whose local party Asenso Manileño has forged and ended alliances with various national parties over several election cycles.
Under Domagoso's proposal, each of the Philippines' 17 regions would elect 2 senators, and the president and vice president would be elected as a tandem.
"Gusto ko makakita ng mga senador na Moro, Igorot, Aetas or IPs (indigenous peoples) sa ating bansa para naman hindi isang pamilya lang ang namumuno sa ating Senado," the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer said.
De Guzman, on the other hand, wants a 2-party system based on the interests of the elite and the masses.
"Iisa lang naman ang agenda ng karamihan ng mga pultiko o mga partido. Pare-pareho para sa mga interes ng mga kapitalista," the labor leader said.
"Tingin ko nandun talaga dapat magkaroon ng guhitan sa pagitan ng mga partido: interes ng kapital o interes ng mga manggagawa," he said.
Robredo said she is willing to "revisit" proposals for the Philippines to have a 2-party system, as well as to study if the nation is ready to have "run-off elections" to ensure that the elected president is elected based on the vote of the majority.