Hodgepodge party-list

  • Philippine Airlines quits flying shark fins amid outcry

    Philippine Airlines quits flying shark fins amid outcry

    AFP News
    Philippine Airlines quits flying shark fins amid outcry

    Philippine Airlines (PAL) said Thursday it has stopped flying shark fin cargoes, joining a number of other Asia-Pacific carriers in taking a stand for marine conservation. The fins are used in shark fin soup, a much-valued delicacy in Hong Kong and China. Conservationists say booming demand for such fins has put pressure on the world's shark populations, prompting calls for measures to restrict their trade. Air New Zealand as well as South Korea's two largest airlines, Korean Air and Asiana, …

  • Philippines' oldest artworks in danger of disappearing

    Philippines' oldest artworks in danger of disappearing

    AFP News
    Philippines' oldest artworks in danger of disappearing

    The 127 engravings of people, animals and geometric shapes are the Southeast Asian nation's oldest known artworks, but encroaching urbanisation, vandals and the ravages of nature are growing threats. The artworks have been declared a national treasure, regarded as the best proof that relatively sophisticated societies existed in the Philippines in the Stone Age. "They show that in ancient times, the Philippines did have a complex culture. Museum scientists believe the carvings date back to …

  • Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    AFP News
    Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    Hong Kong and the Philippines announced Wednesday they had resolved an enduring and deeply emotional row over a deadly hostage crisis, allowing soured diplomatic relations to return to normal. The breakthrough came after a deal was struck on the most sensitive issues of compensation to the victims of the tragedy, which saw eight tourists from Hong Kong killed following a bus hijacking in Manila in 2010, as well as an apology. "The resolution of the incident enables the normalisation of the …

  • Attorneys give arguments in Coast Guard killings

    Associated Press

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Prosecutors say a 62-year-old man accused of a double homicide at a Coast Guard communications station is the only possible killer in a circumstantial case, countering defense arguments that the government hasn't proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. …

  • Gang leader gets life in US consulate slayings

    Associated Press

    EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A Mexican gang leader has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 2010 slayings in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, of a U.S. consulate employee, her husband and the husband of another employee. …

By Ramon Casiple for Yahoo! Southeast Asia

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) recently released a list of 79 accredited party-list groups, in addition to seven previously announced.

These 86 organizations, plus several more who may still be accredited or those which may be allowed by the Supreme Court to participate, will run in the 2013 party-list elections.

The Comelec obviously tried its best to weed out groups who—for one reason or another—fail the criteria Comelec sets for them. The problem is that the criteria seems to be only one—that is, if a party-list group gets the majority's vote, it passes. If not, it fails.

The Party-List Law (Republic Act 7941), and later the Supreme Court, in a June 2001 decision, put forward several criteria which the Comelec is now interpreting on its own.

This approach is fraught with unforeseen dangers. One, it almost guarantees motions for reconsideration and, eventually, appeal to the Supreme Court (which is the only body that can overturn an en banc Comelec decision.

Two, it opens the gate for lobbying with the individual commissioners, four of whom can automatically guarantee an accreditation.

Three, it is an open invitation to public criticism and controversy. Fourth, at the end of the day, it may also lead to powerful groups (and political families or dynasties) using their political (and possibly financial) clout to ensure accreditation.

For example, the Courage sectoral organization was disqualified on the basis of its being an organization of government employees even as ACT Teachers and the Association of Volunteer Teachers (AVE) whose members also have public school teachers were accredited.

It disqualified Ako Bicol and Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC) partly because they were geographic entities but it allowed An Waray, an association of Samareños. And so on and so forth.

The lack of a set of criteria announced beforehand led to this situation. A contributory factor was the ill-advised lobby of some groups who acted as election watchdogs and introduced false criteria or misinterpreted the criteria for participation in the party-list system.

The attempt, for example, to apply the term "marginalized and underrepresented" to party-list groups rather than the sectors cited in the law is a mistake.

Likewise, the argument that a successful political party such as Akbayan may not anymore be qualified to run because it is part of the ruling coalition is a fallacy.

This stems from an interpretation that the party-list system is a "reserved seats" system for "marginalized and underrepresented groups."

The constitution (and the discussions of constitutional commissioners) has made clear and affirmed that it is a system for proportional representation.

The party-list system only opened the doors to the House of Representatives for representatives of marginalized and underrepresented sectors, and not to exclusively reserve it for them.

The Comelec, for its good intentions, got confused again.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

Poll Choice Options