Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Party-list system's absurdity

Atty. Oscar Tan discusses the impossibility of fulfilling the Constitutional mandate that 20 percent of the members of the House of Representatives should come from party-list representatives and gives an alternative formula from the one used today.
"A proper party-list formula need only fulfill two simple goals: 1) It must fill up 20 percent of House seats; and 2) Seat allocation must be proportional, including allocations to losing parties.

In this proposed formula, one selects a party, then divides each party’s votes by the chosen party’s votes. One then drops decimals from the resulting ratios, and assigns that many seats to each party, up to the three-seat maximum. If the total number of seats assigned exceeds 55, one chooses another party with less votes, and vice-versa."
I really can't understand how the COMELEC and the Supreme could have bungled this one. Personally, I think the mistaken notion that the party list should be limited to "under-represented" sectors of society is the root of all this stupidity. This notion led to:
  1. limiting the number of seats a party-list party can get to 3 - this now limits the growth of a party-list party and will ensure that they cannot become a dominant party
  2. banning "mainstream" parties from the party-list elections - which leads to a the absurd situation that "legitimate" party-list organizations are accusing the dominant parties of using proxy party-list organizations to be able to run, and at this moment, the ascendancy of parties affiliated with religious organizations.
The party-list could have led to various parties, with strong party loyalty. The mis-steps only led to our present situation.

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