MANILA – Former Akbayan Party-list Rep. and Commission on Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales and several youth groups revealed Tuesday their own matrix of 38 party-list groups whose nominees allegedly have ties to political families.
They urged voters not to vote for what they called “Kamag-anak, Inc.” party-list groups.
“Fifty-eight or 59 seats are available. Then you get this 38, because they have money, politics, patronage and political power in order to be able to entrench themselves in Congress through the party-list system. Pag controlled na nila, ‘yang 38 na ‘yan, wasak na, wala na,” Rosales told reporters at a press conference in Manila.
The list includes 1-PACMAN whose 3rd nominee is the brother of former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. and Duterte Youth whose 1st nominee, Ducielle Marie Suarez, is the wife of current National Youth Commission Chair Ronald Cardema.
The group also cited 2 party-list groups – 1AAAP and METRO – whose first nominees are the daughter and wife, respectively, of former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“A party-list system should not belong to a certain family. Magka-bahay na nga kayo, magkasama pa kayo sa opisina sa Kongreso. We should give opportunities for marginalized groups to enter into Congress, to give them avenues in legislation para mapaglingkuran nila mga sector nila,” Jason del Rosario of the Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking said.
“Hindi po Game of Thrones ang elections. Panahon po ito para bigyang boses ang ordinaryong mamamayan lalo na ang marhinalisado. Ang panawagan namin sa mga kapwa Pilipino, lalo na sa mga kabataan, huwag hayaang ma-hijack ang party-list system,” Rafaela David, executive director of CYAN added, referring to a popular series on HBO.
Rosales, who was among the first party-list representatives elected into office, said voters should consider the spirit or the intention of the 1987 Constitution, which is to give representation to the marginalized sectors.
She acknowledged but disagreed with a 2013 Supreme Court ruling which declared that national or regional parties and organizations need not organize along sectoral lines and do not need to represent any marginalized and underrepresented sector.
“[T]hat ruling legitimized what the party-list political dynasts were actually doing even beforehand. With that legitimization, it opened floodgates to political families. So now you have several hundreds of clan families vying for positions through the party-list system,” she said, vowing to lobby for amendments to the party-list law.
But, she added, it takes more than mere amendments to the law to make the system work.
Also represented during the press conference were youth groups Dakila, Youth for Human Rights and Democracy, and Akbayan Youth.