The Manila Times - Monsod bares ‘corruption’ in party-list registration

By Dexter A. See | The Manila Times

BAGUIO CITY: A former chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has disclosed alleged rampant “corruption” in the registration of party-list groups that has seen them passed themselves off as “marginalized” and “vulnerable” when they actually are not.

Christian Monsod, also a member of the Constitutional Commission, on Friday said the Comelec is aware of such corruption in the registration of the party-list groups, but he does not understand why the dishonesty has not been stopped since the party-list system became part of the so-called democratic space.

Monsod was one of the resource persons at the annual National Press Forum of the Philippine Press Institute here where he shared his insights on the country’s political systems, among others.

To stamp out the alleged corruption in the party-list system itself, he proposed that interest groups go back to the Supreme Court in order to change the established jurisprudence, so that it will only be bonafide members of the marginalized groups who will be authorized by their party-list representatives to register the latter groups with the Comelec.

Monsod noted that even non-farmers and non-security guards, among others, are allowed to represent farmers and security guards, in the process distorting the purpose of the party-list system as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

Of the batch of party-list representatives in the current 18th Congress, he said, there are many who are not marginalized at all, but who were able to win seats in the House of Representatives.

Under existing rules and regulations on the registration of party-list groups and the determination of the seats that will be given to them, a party-list group must be able to get at least 2 percent of the total number of voters who cast their votes and that each group can have a maximum of three seats depending on the number of votes that the group pulls in.

With a corrupted party-list system, Monsod warned, the time would come when the country’s marginalized sectors would be deprived of their representations in Congress by rich and enterprising individuals wanting to use the party-list groups for their own personal and business interests.