It is time to amend the Philippine Constitution of 1987. More specifically there is a need to amend certain provisions of the basic law of the land that has become onerous and burdensome to the
Filipino people, not only in terms of its application but the consequences and implications that arise from its implementation of that particular provision of the constitution. One of these obviously redundant and much abused provisions is found in paragraphs (1) and (2) of Section 5 of Article VI of the Philippine Constitution which states,

“[1] x x x The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila Area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations; and

“[2] The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of
representatives including those under the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector;”.

Here we have a directive from the constitution enacted in 1987 that apart from district representatives in the Lower House in Congress who are elected at large and who are supposed to already represent the people in their legislative districts there must also be party-list
representatives who shall “represent their national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations” and shall be selected or elected from ostensibly the different sectors of society.

But here is where it becomes weird aren’t those people comprising the various sectors of society also included among those people in the legislative districts whom representatives in the House are
already representing? If the intent of the Party-list system is to enable marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties of Filipinos the opportunity to contribute in law-making then we had better remove the legislative districts represented by congresspersons elected at large and simply allow a cornucopia of sectors, organizations and parties to represent the Filipino people.

Somewhere online there is even this statement that “The party-list congressmen represent the minority sectors of the population.” And that, “This enables these minority groups to be represented in the Congress, when they would otherwise not be represented properly through district representation.” But isn’t a district representative/congressperson supposed to represent the people in his legislative district? Is it not their mandate to represent all that are within their
district, whether these are from the minority sectors of the population or not? Common sense tells us that those in the marginalized sectors should receive the most attention from their congressman or district representative since they are those in need of assistance, help or representation.

The fact that the constitution will allow party-list members in the House of Congress apart from the regular district representatives provides the suspicion that the regular congressmen have not been doing their job of representing all of the people in their legislative districts. So if there are any
amendments to be made in the 1987 Philippine Constitution it should start with the removal of the provisions on the party-list systems.

To date there are 49 party-lists represented by one or two of their representatives in the Lower House of Congress with names such as Buklod ng mga Motorista ng Pilipinas, Pagtibayin at Palaguin ang Pangkabuhayang Pilipino, Abang Lingkod Inc., Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support Inc., Agimat ng Masa, Alliance of Organizations, Networks and Associations of the Philippines Inc., Barangay Health Wellness Party, Dumper Philippines Taxi Drivers Association Inc., Galing sa Puso party, Social Amelioration and Genuine Intervention on Poverty, and Tutok to Win, among others.

Now if you care to make a research online and find out the representatives of these party-lists in Congressman you might be surprised to learn that not a few are former district representatives whose terms as congressmen have ended but they still want to taste and feel the power of an “honorable congressman” in Congress. Therefore the party-list system is simply an avenue for those who intend to continue wielding and abusing power while in government.

Amianan Balita Ngayon