”The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth and such other sectors as many be provided by law, except the religious sector.” (Phil. Constitution 1986 Art. VI, Section 5:1)
The recent and surprising official release of a good number of additional new Party-List Representatives for congressional seats has brought to fore a likewise good number of questions in and out of the halls of the Legislative Department. Surprise was registered. Eyebrows were raised. Rallies were even staged. Why them? Who are they? Where do they come from? Why are they so many? How much public funds will they cost?
One thing is certain. The text and context of the constitutional provision on party-list Representatives bring to fore their over-all identifying common denominator, viz., they represent the marginalized sectors of Philippine Society. In other words, they are neither wealthy nor powerful, much less notorious or influential. They should not be either a big block in the Country such as the constituents of the composite religious sector.
This is neither meant to belittle the persons of the new Party-List Representatives nor intended to question their competence and intentions. Judging, however from the immediately registered adverse reactions not only from some already incumbent Representatives but also from some common people, it can be said that their objections can be grouped into three.
First, it appears that some of them can be anything but marginalized, much less are they peasants, poor or indigenous.
Second, it seems that they are already superfluous, considering the already long standing big number and composition of the present Legislature.
Third, it gives the impression that they are by and large pro-administration, i.e., men and women who could help in the Malacanang Cha-Cha move.
Would that all the above objections were not only baseless but also senseless. The Administration has already done enough socio-moral iniquities, economic reversals and political havoc in the Country to the disgust and discontent of majority of the people. It would be really adding insult to injury in the event that the newly named Representatives would still contribute to national confusion and depression.
April 27, 2009