Lawmakers on Monday expressed disagreement with the intention of President Rodrigo Duterte to scrap the party-list system in the House of Representatives and instead suggested amending the law that created the system.
Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago, who thumbed down the idea, said the plan must be reviewed thoroughly as party-list groups serve as the voice of marginalized and under-represented sectors in society.
“We want the noble cause of the party-list law to give space to the marginalized and under-represented sectors at the House of Representatives,” Elago said in a news conference.
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said he also does not support the plan to abolish the party-list system.
“I agree that the party-list law should be amended to weed out wealthy opportunists out of the system,” Alejano said in a statement.
Republic Act 7941 or the law providing for the election of party-list representatives, according to him, is outdated and amendments are appropriate.
“It would be wise for the President to call for a review or investigation of the party-list system before having any pronouncement on its abolition,” Alejano said.
The Magdalo representative believed that the conduct of a comprehensive review of the 21-year-old law may help in preserving the real intention of RA 7941, which is to promote proportional representation in the election of representatives and promote legislation meant to address the marginalized sectors.
“There are many well-meaning party-list groups that have successfully and actively pursued the interests of the sector they represent in the Congress,” Alejano said.
He added that the Supreme Court had said the party-list system is a tool for social justice and to abolish it meant depriving the marginalized sectors in society.
Rep. Alfredo Garbin of Ako Bicol also opposed the scrapping of the part-list law, saying it has advanced the cause of the poor.
Rep. Edcel Lagman, an author of the party-list law, said party-list representation must be preserved as it was the intent of the Constitution to have the marginalized sectors represented in the House of Representatives.
In his statement on Friday, the President expressed his intention to scrap the party-list system as it has been abused by the rich and powerful.
“With a new Constitution, I will insist: No party-list,” Duterte said.