'That's one evil': Duterte says party-list system exploited by the rich

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2019 03:15 AM

The House of Representatives, the lower house of Philippine Congress. AFP/file

MANILA - The party-list system was originally crafted to represent the marginalized sectors and President Rodrigo Duterte has had enough of people taking advantage over it.

Speaking before newly elected officials in Cagayan de Oro City, the President blasted the system as a scourge of Philippine politics.

"Kaning party-list that's one evil. Ang tanang nanakay diha mga dato. Ang party-list ginagastuhan lang na'g mga dato," he said Wednesday.

(This party-list is one evil. Those who are in it are rich. It is bankrolled by the rich.)

Instead of being represented by someone from the marginalized sector, the system is abused by certain groups to extend their political bench.

"Ang mga pangan kunwari sa laborer. Ang ilang nominee mga milyonaryo so they stay in power," he said.

(Their names are supposed from a laborer. But their nominees are millionaires so they stay in power.)

Duterte did not mention any name but on the latest list of the House's wealthiest, businessman 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Michael Romero remained in first place with a net worth of P7.858 billion. 

Party-list representatives comprise 20 percent of the total members in the House of Representatives, or 59 seats in the 2019 polls.

Over the years, critics said the system has become a backdoor for political clans and special business interests to gain a seat at the lower House.

In the 2019 midterm polls, 49 party-list nominees came from political families or families that have produced more than one elected or appointed official, based on certificates of nomination gathered by ABS-CBN's Investigative and Research Group.

In the 16th Congress, which commenced in July 2013, about 25 percent of party-list representatives belonged to political dynasties, according to a study of the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center.