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High court spurs party-list changes

The Supreme Court ruling widening the scope of  the party-list system beyond sectoral groups  gave a clear indication that  the enabling law of 1995 should be reviewed to define what a party-list should really mean, lawmakers said on Saturday. But Rep. Rafael Mariano hit out at the SC  for destroying the original intent and purpose of party-list system—a genuine representation of marginalized sectors in the lawmaking process. “The SC ruling is a debauchery of  the system, favors big political parties and undermines marginalized sectors especially farmers, labor, urban poor and the like,” Mariano said in a text message. The  high court justices said the party-list system should not be exclusive to sectoral groups and must be opened to regional parties and groups and even national political organizations that do not represent marginalized sectors enumerated in the law. Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, an administration ally, underscored the need for Congress to revisit the party-list law itself. “I think the definition of a party-list should be more well defined in the law to avoid conflicting interpretations,” Baguilat told the Manila Standard. “While we have to respect the SC as the arbiter of defining the intent of d law, I personally think that the intention of the party-list system  is to democratize political representation to the more marginalized sectors  So I hope to work for amendments in the law in the next Congress,” he added. House Deputy Majority Leader and Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo also believed that the party-list law must be amended “to reflect the true aspirations of the Constitution’s framers which specifically reserved the party-list system for the poor and the marginalized.” Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong and House Assistant Deputy Majority Leader and party list Rep. Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle against Corruption (Cibac) supported the SC decision which also urges the Commission on Elections to come  up with new guidelines that will govern the accreditation of so-called party-list groups. “The Constitution did not provide that party-list must be of marginalized sector,” said Datumanong, former justice secretary and an opposition. Tugna shared a similar vies, saying that the SC ruling clarified the intention of the Constitution and the Party-list Law. “Regardless of the consequential participation of the new groups in the party-list elections , good track record, good and clear platform in case elected in Congress, good campaign strategy and diligence in public service are factors which the marginalized and under-represented sectors can rely on to maintain or increase its representation in Congress,” Tugna said.
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