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Duterte deplores exploitation of party-list system by the rich and powerful

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By Genalyn Kabiling

Money buys everything including political party, President Duterte declared Monday night amid his dismay with the abuse of the party-list system in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte attends the 121st anniversary of Philippine Navy at Sangley Point in Cavite on Monday, June 17, 2019. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Duterte attends the 121st anniversary of Philippine Navy at Sangley Point in Cavite on Monday, June 17, 2019. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President said the party-list system was supposed to “give a voice” to marginalized sectors in Congress but has been exploited by the powerful and the rich to stay in power.

“Look at the party-list. Sinong nakikinabang diyan? Mga milyonaryo. Binibili nila o hindi gumagawa sila. They can do it [Look at the part-list, who are benefiting there? The millionaires. They are buying them or establishing the groups. They can do it],” Duterte said during the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Navy in Cavite Monday.

“And for all of the brightest ‘yung gumawa niyang Constitution na ‘yan, anak ng — hindi man lang nakita ‘yung pinakasimple that money buys everything including political party [And for all of the brightest people who crafted the Constitution, they did not see that the simplest that money buys everything including political party],” he said.

Duterte also lamented that the party-list system has benefited the communist-linked groups. He observed that these left-leaning representatives were dominating the issues.

“Ang kalaban ng mayaman na mga kurakot, ang mga NPA. They are dominating as a matter of fact, the issues — not the numbers — but the issues there [The enemy of the rich, of the corrupt are the NPA (New People’s Army). they are dominating as a matter of fact, the issues, not the numbers,” he said.

“Look what happened to the…The road is paved with good intentions pero parang wala [but it seems to have failed],” he said.

Last week, the President described the party-list system as “evil” amid the abuses supposedly made by the rich. He claimed that some party-list groups were supposed to be involved in labor sector but the nominees are “millionaires.”

Republic Act No 7941, signed in 1995, established the election of representatives to the Lower House through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions. The sectors include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.

The Party-List System Act law seeks to enable Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties to become lawmakers.

The party-list system, however, has drawn criticisms after the rich and powerful have used it as backdoor entry to become congressmen.

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