Flawed multi-party, party-list systems
I second Ernesto Z. Medina’s letter titled “Abolish party-list system” (11/27/18) which, in my view, makes a lot of sense. As a supplement thereto, let me critique the multi-party system which, alongside the party-list system, is a peculiar feature of elections in this country.
The pertinent constitutional provision allows a “free and open party system… to evolve according to the free choice of the people” (Section 6, Article IX-C, 1987 Constitution).
A multi-party system is thus institutionalized resulting in a marked proliferation of political parties which, it has been said, virtually tolled the death of our party system and, strangely, triggered a no-party scenario.
During election time, there may well be a “free-for-all” among numerous political parties fielding their respective candidates resulting in chaos and confusion.
There are as many candidates as there are political parties. This is demonstrated by the big number of candidates running for the Senate and various local positions during the midterm elections in 2019.
The electoral base is thereby spread thinly so as to deny a clear mandate to the winner who could be anybody’s guess.
Exacerbating such a chaotic political situation is the so-called party-list system that augments the limitless number of political parties with party-list groupings of varied nomenclatures from the sublime to the ridiculous.
An inherent flaw in this system is that it allows a sort of block voting by which the electorate votes for the party itself and not the candidate/nominee of the party.
The election of said nominee obviously will depend on the influence and clout exerted by the parties upon the voting population.
In actuality, it is the party and not the nominee that is the candidate. The nominees do not actually campaign. They just lend their names to the party that actually does the campaigning.
As a consequence, the voters are denied the opportunity to assess the qualifications of the individual nominee who, in all likelihood, is not even known to them.
Hence, it is possible that even the weak, unqualified, unfit or undeserving nominees would win solely on the strength and influence of the parties nominating them.
Parenthetically, the multiparty and party-list systems as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution tend to open an overdose of politics in this country, which is reputed as the national pastime of the Filipino people.
As I see it, our leaders in the political agencies of the government are too preoccupied and obsessed with their political fortunes often to the prejudice of the more paramount welfare of the people.
The corroding effects of too much politics in our midst are being felt in practically all aspects of governance.
In particular, partisan politics is one of our chronic weaknesses above which we have yet to rise.
BARTOLOME C. FERNANDEZ JR.,
Retired Senior Commissioner,
Commission on Audit
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