Write from scratch: Lawyer calls for overhaul of party-list system

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 19 2021 10:48 AM

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The House of Representatives. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The party-list system needs to be overhauled to ensure true representation of marginalized sectors in Congress, an election lawyer said Tuesday.

Speaking to ANC's "Matters of Fact," lawyer Emil Marañon said Republic Act 7941 or the Party-List System Act contained many loopholes and ambiguous provisions.

"It needs an overhaul. Kailangan niyang sulatin (It should be written) from scratch once again because if you read the law, a lot of flip-flops na ginagawa ng (done by the) Supreme Court as regards to its interpretation is because the law was badly crafted way back in 1995," he said.

In 2013, the high court allowed nonmarginalized groups to join the party-list race, which Marañon said made the system open to all.

"Because of this error of the Supreme Court in interpreting the law, we end up now with a party-list system na occupied na actually ng regular na politiko natin (that is occupied with regular politicians)," he said.

Other politicians who are done with the 3-term limit end up running as party-list representatives, he lamented.

Last week, Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said a bill was being crafted in the Senate to ensure that only marginalized representatives and groups not "working for the overthrow of government" would be qualified to join the party-list race.

For Marañon, Sotto's proposal would clarify the ambiguities in the party-list law and supplant the high court's decision on who should be allowed in the polls.

"Magkakaroon ng (There will be a) legislative clarification as regards to the true meaning and interpretation of party-list system," he said.

He added, "I hope with this law ay matangal ang ambiguity doon sa batas (remove the ambiguity in the law). We finally get a final idea on what a party-list system should really be."