Party list: A bastardized system
Posted by akosistella on April 22, 2010
CALLING A SPADE
By Solita Collas-Monsod
When Filipinos go to the polls on Monday, May 10, we will be selecting one out of nine candidates for president, one out of 10 candidates for vice president, 12 out of 61 candidates for senator, plus, depending on where we live, a congressman, a governor and/or mayor, vice governor, and/or vice mayor, not to mention provincial board members and municipal or city councilors. The total number of candidates for these various local positions will probably not exceed 80 — in fact more like 40.
But on top of that, we voters must select one name from another 187 names — the name of the party we would like to represent us in Congress. Those 187 names are the tip of the iceberg, so to speak — a manifestation of a system gone wrong. Only consider:
Our 1987 Constitution introduced the party-list system, according to political scientist Edna Co, as a corrective or social justice mechanism.
Why corrective? Because currently, we use the majoritarian rule for electing officials. What the party-list system does is to introduce an element of proportional representation, where political parties receive seats in Congress in the same proportion as the number of votes it wins. Thus a voter actually has two representatives in Congress: a person he has voted for, and the representative of the party he has voted for. Note that the voter, in a closed party-list system such as ours, does not vote for a specific candidate, but for a specific party. The party, in turn, has a published list of candidates that will represent the party in Congress if it wins a seat. All the votes are counted, and each party then receives the number of seats in proportion to the number of votes it receives. The Constitution provides that the party-list representatives shall constitute 20% of the total number of representatives.
Click Solita Monsod.