Billionaires for the marginalized? Comelec to ‘lobby’ for party-list law amendment

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 05:17 PM | Updated as of May 22 2019 05:56 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will ask Congress to amend the party-list law to ensure that it would strictly cater to marginalized groups, the poll body’s chief said Wednesday.

Comelec is strict when it comes to the party-list system to the point that only 20 percent of party-list applications were approved, but some groups still manage to circumvent the process, Comelec chair Sheriff Abas said in a press conference.

“We are governed by rules. ‘Yung problema nandoon sa nominees... [But] on the accreditation [stage] hindi mo naman makikita sino ifi-field nila as nominee,” Abas said.

The current party-list law has allowed organizations to field billionaire nominees, shutting out marginalized representatives who do not have enough resources to mount nationwide campaigns, he said.

“Mayroon kami binabalak na maglo-lobby din kami na baka naman puwede ayusin ng Congress ‘yan,” he said.

Abas did not specify the Comelec’s proposed amendments but said the circumvention of the law could happen because of the clause on substitution.

The poll body chief did not mention specific cases but the Comelec en banc is expected to rule on Duterte Youth Party-list’s substitution bid shortly after Abas’ press conference.

The first five nominees of the Duterte Youth Party-list have withdrawn their nominations, giving way for former National Youth Commission chair Ronald Cardema, who submitted his substitution documents a day before the May election.

Several lawmakers earlier noted that 33-year-old Cardema is overaged to serve as youth representative. 

Under the law, youth party-list nominees should be aged 25 to 30.