A number of groups that had expressed their intention to take part in 2013 elections to embody “underrepresented and marginalised” sectors are using the polls to perpetuate their hold on power, a study showed.
A study conducted by the non-government anti-election fraud group Kontra Daya (anti-cheating) showed that individuals identified with political clans linked to traditional patronage politics are using the partylist system as a leverage to get themselves elected to office.
“The group’s initial study shows the existence of partylist groups formed by political clans, rich and powerful individuals as well as groups that have nominees that are outright disqualified from participating in the partylist system,” Kontra Daya said in a statement.
Philippine representative democracy was basically based on geo-political representation by congressional districts and through nationally elected senators, president and vice-president.
In 1998, the Philippines integrated the party-list system to its elections and governance set up with the intention of increasing the representation, particularly of “marginalised and underrepresented” sectors. Likewise the move towards the integration of the party list systems was intended to enhance transparency and accountability in government.
But a decade and a half since its adoption, it is becoming increasingly apparent that traditional politicians are using the partylist system to perpetuate themselves in office to the detriment of the under-represented and marginalised sectors the system was originally intended to embody.
Given this, Kontra Daya asked the Commission on Elections to investigate certain groups that proclaim to represent marginalised sectors when in truth they do not belong to these sectors.
“Kontra Daya has come up with a list of party-list groups which, we assert, do not represent the marginalised and underrepresented sectors as required under the 1987 Constitution, Republic Act No. 7941… these party-list groups even represent interests antagonistic to the marginalised and under-represented sectors that the party-list system aspires to empower and protect,” it said.
It said that among the glaring examples of violations of the partylist system cited by the study include Aksyon Magsasaka-PartidoTinig ng Masa (Farmars’ Action-Peoples’ Voice) partylist candidate Margarita Cojuangco, wife of Jose Peping Cojuangco, one of the owners of the controversial Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Central Luzon.
“It is unthinkable and unacceptable for us marginalised sectors to have the likes of Tingting Cojuangco representing the farmers, considering that her family has controlled Hacienda Luisita and has directly contradicted the interests of the farmers,” according to Willy Marbella, of the farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
“Some partylist nominees have ties to mainstream political parties like President Benigno Aquino’ss ruling Liberal Party.