Don’t be surprised when you find the words “MOCHA Partylist” on the ballot come May—the Commission on Elections (Comelec) accredited the MOCHA Partylist as one of the sectoral party-lists gunning for a congressional seat in the 2022 elections.
ICYDK, MOCHA apparently isn’t an eponymous label of its founder, the controversial ex-communications secretary, ex-sex columnist, and former girl group member Mocha Uson, but an acronym that stands for “Mothers for Change”, advocating for mothers’ welfare in Congress.
The kicker? Neither Uson, the party-list’s first nominee nor her second nominee, ex-beauty queen Michelle Gumabao are mothers.
That said, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez maintained that the MOCHA group “met all the requirements for a sectoral organization.”
Under the Philippine constitution, the House of Representatives will devote 20 percent of its membership to party-list groups, in order to ensure fair and inclusive representation in Congress. The Party-List System Act states that party-lists must represent marginalized sectors including labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.
That said, trapos or unscrupulous politicians have long taken advantage of the party-list system, which unlike congressional seats, needs only to secure 2 percent of the total votes cast for party-lists in order to win a seat. They can win up to three seats depending on their total number of votes.
This means even securing 200,000 to 300,000 votes can guarantee a party-list a seat at Congress.
“SIMULA PA LANG NG TUNAY NA LABAN (The fight has only begun),” Uson wrote on her Facebook page. “Ngayong araw na ito opisyal na inihayag ng COMELEC na kanilang inaprubahan ang ating party-list. Isa lang po ang ibig sabihin nito: tayo ay patungo na sa daan upang maging boses, kinatawan, at TAKBUHAN ng ating mga INA.” (Today, the Comelec officially approved our party-list, which only means one thing: we are on the way to becoming the voice, representation, and shoulder of mothers.)