Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Philippine Party-List System: Absence of a Clear Seat Allocation Fo

The Party-List System of proportional representation is a relatively new addition to Philippine politics and specifically in the electoral system of the country. It was only introduced in 1987, by then, the new constitution and formalized by R.A. 7941 (The Party-list System Act) in 1995, to open the legislature to marginalized and underrepresented sectors or groups without a well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to policy formulation beneficial to the nation. (R.A. 7941 1995, Sec. 2) Since then there had been various problems in implementing the statutory law and the principles of the constitutional provision on the party-list system. Rodriguez and Velasco (1998, 36-48) and Tangkia and Habaradas (2001) enumerated some of them: low voter turnout, COMELEC inefficiency in public information dissemination, and confusing instructions in explaining a new ballot structure. However, one of its longest standing issues is the seat allocation since R.A. 7941 does not provide a clear formula for translating votes into seats. (Rodriguez 2002, 25 and Rodriguez and Velasco 1998, 39) An allocation formula is one of the basic and most fundamental requisites of a party-list system. Yet ironically, the authors of the governing law seemed to have forgotten to include a clear allocation formula even though it was tackled during the deliberations of R.A. 7941’s origin bills. The effects of its absence were most evident during the 1998 and 2007 elections. In 1998, 14 party-list seats were already filled with finality using the â€Å"2-4-6 COMELEC formula.† The said formula apportioned a seat for every 2% a party garnered in the party-list votes. For example, APEC was given two seats with its 5.5% but ABA (second... .... 2007. â€Å"The Party-List System in the Philippines: Proportional Representation and Seat Allocation Errors.† Discussion Paper. QC: Center for People Empowerment in Governance/University of the Philippines. Republic Act 7941. 1995. â€Å"The Party-list System Act.† Rodriguez, Agustin Martin G. and Djorina Velasco. 1998. Democracy Rising? The Trials and Triumphs of the 1998 Party-List Elections. QC: Institute of Politics and Governance and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Rodriguez, Agustin Martin G. 2002. The Winding Road to Representation: The Philippine Party-List Experience. Makati: Ateneo School of Government and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Tangkia, Fritzie Palma and Ma.AraceliBascoHabaradas. 2001.â€Å"Party-List System: The Philippine Experience. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Philippines. (November 27, 2011).

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