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JPE assails ‘back door entry’ into Congress

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday urged voters to repudiate candidates who exploit the loopholes in the party-list system just to gain access to Congress.

Speaking over the radio in Laguna, the Senate chief said the people should be wary of these candidates who represent sectors that are not even considered marginalized.

“Masyadong obvious na at ginagawa na paraan (ang party-list system) upang makapasok sa Kongreso. Hindi sa ilalim ng pagiging kandidato sa distrito, kundi ‘yung back door entry sa Kongreso,” said Enrile, a reelectionist under Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

The veteran legislator said the party-list law should be amended to reflect the intent of the Constitution to give the underrepresented and marginalized sectors a voice in Congress. “Kung may pagkakataon ay kailangan na sigurong rebisahin ang batas at sabihin na kung sino ang karapat-dapat na magkaroon ng party list,” Enrile pointed out.

Enrile earlier said that the party-list system in the country was being abused, noting the proliferation of organizations that do not genuinely support the interest of the constituents they represent.

In a list issued by the Commission on Elections, the nominees for 45 out of 187 accredited party-list organizations included former Cabinet members, military officials and outgoing Rep. Mikey Arroyo, the first nominee of a group claiming to represent the security guards.

Fifty-seven seats are allotted for party-list representatives in the 287-member House of Representatives.

Government critics claimed that some of these party-list groups were Malacanang-sponsored and were established to collect votes to support President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s bid for House speakership if she wins the congressional race in Lubao, Pampanga.

While the law has yet to be fine-tuned, Enrile said, the voters can cure the flaws in the party-list law by choosing carefully the organization and candidates they would elect in office on May 10.

“Ang gamot sa usaping ito ay ang taumbayan,” the PMP senatorial candidate said. “Ipakita nila ang damdamin nila sapagkat sila rin ang pumipili ng mga ‘yan. Kung ano ang pinili nila, sila ang manunungkulan.”

He added: “Kaya ang sinasabi ko sa lahat ng aking pinupuntahan ay mag-ingat kayo sa pagboto sapagkat kapag ibinoto n’yo na ang tao, hindi n’yo na mababaawi ‘yon. Luluha kayo kapag nagkamli kayo pero sila ang nagpapasarap. Ganyan din sa party list. Piliin at suriin ninyo at tingnan n’yo kung totoo ba itong party list.”