Partylist scrutiny

March 04, 2019

It is an express lane to power for politicians, businessmen, and other large organizations.

It was originally conceptualized to represent marginalized sectors of society in Congress.

But this preferential allocation for congressional representation has been largely abused and misused over the last few decades.

And so there is a need to go back and stick to the original intent of the Constitution.

This can be done by running  a fine-toothed comb over the list of eligible partylist organizations participating in May’s elections.

An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Saturday the names of nominees of over 130 party-list organizations have been released to give voters a chance to know the personalities behind the organizations.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez noted that in partylist elections, voters must evaluate the sectoral organization but they also look at the nominees.

“While the Comelec maintains that, in a partylist elections, it is the partylist organization as a whole that should be evaluated by the electorate, it cannot be denied that the identity of the nominees remains a significant reference for voters,” he said in a statement.

“This is especially true in view of the large number of party-list organizations currently participating in the #NLE2019 elections,” Jimenez said.

On Friday, the Comelec released the list of nominees of 134 party-list organizations, which was posted on its Twitter account, @COMELEC.

“The release of the names of party- list nominees was effected to enhance the transparency of the electoral process and to enable voters to make an informed choice,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Comelec Employees' Union (Comelec-EU) lauded the poll body's stance in enforcing campaign rules in connection with the May 13, 2019 national and local elections.

"The Comelec leadership's serious effort to ensure a level playing field for candidates in the forthcoming elections and its tough stance on enforcing campaign rules is commendable," the group said in a separate statement.

"On the ground, we commit to tear down all oversized and illegally placed campaign posters," it added.

Last week, the Comelec started its nationwide removal of illegal campaign posters starting in Metro Manila.