Press Release
March 27, 2010

Enrile: Review party-list law

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said today he is in favor of a thorough review of the Party-List Law to make it truly representative of the interests of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

"I fully support the party-list system. It is a fine-tuning of the system of representation in a democratic set-up. But the intent of the Constitution to give marginalized sectors adequate representation in law-making may have been gravely compromised by loopholes in the enabling law," Enrile said.

Enrile was reacting to the call made by some groups for the Comelec to disqualify party-list groups believed to be supported by Malacañang and traditional politicians.

"Watchdog groups should not just raise a howl over what they claim to be bogus party-list groups. They should gather enough evidence to substantiate their allegations and initiate disqualification proceedings with the Comelec against those who they believe do not really represent marginalized groups," Enrile said.

Enrile observed that some party-list groups are apparently not up to the task of protecting the interests of their constituents.

"In the case of the power sector, there is a party-list group

representing electric cooperatives, but it looks like they have been too busy with other concerns instead of working to bring down high power rates," Enrile said.

Enrile lamented that he fought for the interest of electricity consumers all by himself in the Senate.

The same thing happened, Enrile said, when he raised a furor over vanishing cellphone loads. Consumer advocates should have rallied behind him in this crusade, but again, he found himself fighting a lonely battle against the big telcos that have been overcharging consumers.

Enrile said the next Congress should thoroughly review the existing party-list law and identify areas of improvement.

"The first order of business is to determine who are the legitimate marginalized and underrepresented sectors. We should weed out those who are obviously trying to make a mockery of the party-list law by claiming to be marginalized when in fact they are not," Enrile said.

"The law should also be clear on the qualifications of those who can be nominated to represent the party-list group in Congress," Enrile added.

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