Groups ask Supreme Court to reconsider decision on Party-list System

MANILA — Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Partylist groups filed a Motion for Leave to file Motion for Reconsideration-in-Intervention before the Supreme Court yesterday to seek reconsideration of its latest decision on the Party-list System.
Today, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares urges the COMELEC to file its own Motion for Reconsideration, at the proper time which is after the elections. “For now, it is but proper for the Comelec to focus on the PCOS machines. With just a few days to go, the Comelec must prepare for all possibilities on election day. They will also have to wait for the SC’s decision. Of course the Comelec must also prepare their own MR in the proper time,” he said.

How to spot the fake partylist? Colmenares said “The nominees selected by the party-list group are a good indication whether such party-list is fake or not, especially when the nominees possess economic interest adverse to the sectors he claim to represent (for example a landlord to represent a farmers’ group; a capitalist to represent a labor group).” He explained that fakeness is also likely if the nominees belong to political dynasties, or are former politicians themselves whose terms have expired. Colmenares said the elite are using the party-list system as “a backdoor to gaining seat in Congress “without real and bona fide intention of representing the marginalized and underrepresented sectors.”

“This is only one among the many points discussed in our Motion for Reconsideration to the April Decision of the Supreme Court. Primarily, we are seeking for reconsideration of the SC’s Decision that nullifies the long established law and doctrine regarding the party-list system of elections, specifically that the same is an electoral arena intended solely for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said.
The MR was filed by Intervenors Representative Colmenares, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano and Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan through their counsel, Atty. Maria Cristina Yambot.

In having filed the motion for reconsideration, the progressive partylist representatives “firmly adhere to the interpretation that the party-list system is a social justice mechanism that would enable the marginalized and underrepresented sector to become veritable lawmakers themselves.” In their appeal, they said that the constitutional intent was “to open the party-list system only for poor or marginalized groups,” as Rep. Colmenares said.

Earlier, Bayan Muna and Makabayan have warned that, as they have said before, “opening the party-list system to the non-marginalized decreases the chance of the poor and marginalized to win in the party-list system.”

In the 15th Congress, Colmenares said studies revealed that a significant number of the party-list congressmen are either millionaires or multi-millionaires or members of political clans.
The progressive partylists’ motion cited an academic study which said that the rich, the landlord and the dynasties will never put the interest of the marginalized and underrepresented above their own class interest. As Colmenares quoted the thesis, ‘Surely, the interests of the youth cannot be fully represented by a retiree; neither can those of the urban poor or the working class, by an industrialist.’ Colmenares said that in brief, the thesis reveals that most party-list representatives are multi-millionaires, members of political dynasties, and they have failed to address the concerns of their sectors in Congress.”

The Motion filed by three progressive partylist groups clarified that the sectors enumerated in the Constitution are not automatically qualified, citing as examples how “Mr. Lucio Tan, the magnate, may rightly claim he belongs to the ‘elderly’ sector, but the fact that he is a billionaire disqualifies him from being a nominee for a party-list group claiming to represent that sector.
Or, Rep. Imelda R. Marcos may rightfully assert she belongs to the ‘women’ sector, but her wealth and power do not qualify her to represent the women as marginalized sector under the party-list system.”

The Motion also urges the Supreme Court to see that “It would be absurd and a mockery of the legislative branch to even allow ‘special interests’ groups lacking well-defined political constituencies to participate in the party-list system.” They reasoned that not only will its legislative agenda be limited to a special interest which may be so limited that they pertain to a special group only and not to the benefit of the entire population (e.g. Real Housewives of Metro Manila Party-list; Ladies Who Lunch Party-list; We Love to Party! Party; etc.) COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes reportedly conclude that the party-list system is a joke when he was confronted with applicants comprising health promoters, aviation advocates, athletes and hobbyists, entrepreneurs, former drug users, ex-military renegades, school dropouts and even foreign-exchange dealers.”

The progressive partylists warned that “The assailed Decision, if not reconsidered and reversed, would effectively solidify the disproportionate power equation to the favor and extreme jubilation of the oligarchs.” ()

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