outbrain
Close  

Partylist system decrees inequality before the law

/ 08:28 PM April 17, 2013

This refers to the column titled “The new party-list decision” (Inquirer, 4/15/13) of eminent Philippine Constitution framer Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J.

As a layman, I saw Father Bernas’ explanation of the Supreme Court ruling slip into a case of “Catch 22.” Father Bernas explains that according to the ruling, the phrase “marginalized and underrepresented” refers only to those which by nature are economically marginalized; but then he justifies the inclusion of registered national, regional parties under “eiusdem generis,” but not necessarily in the sense of being economically disadvantaged. Curiosity getting the better of me, I looked up the phrase, which means “of the same kind.” The father’s conclusion seems to negate the premise. How does “only” suddenly aggregates with the rest—the poor with the LPG dealers or gay activists, for example?

ADVERTISEMENT

Not a fan of the party-list system, I have always thought that laws should apply equally to all citizens regardless of economic status, ethnicity, dialect (language), ability, religion or creed, among other differences. Party-list groups, especially sectoral representations, seek to advance special interests that polarize society. The general good is diminished in favor of a few.

As an example, take the Kasambahay Law which is generally regarded as a victory for household help. I see it differently—as a magnification of the inequity in the application of law. There already exist laws on minimum wage, Social Security System and Pag-Ibig Fund. Why does the implementation of these laws exclude household help? Construction workers also suffer the same exclusion. Another law directs cognizance of indigents when arrested. Does this mean that nonindigents are excluded from being extended the benefit of this law? Or does this mean that for a long time, indigents have been treated differently?

FEATURED STORIES

I am for equality and the common interest, not special interest. The party-list system should be abolished.

For placing the party-list system under scrutiny, I commend Commission on Elections Chair Sixto Brillantes. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, again successfully managed to muddle and confuse the issue with its untenable ruling.

—BENIGNO T. CALANTUAN III,

[email protected]

Subscribe to Inquirer Opinion Newsletter
Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: nation, news, Partylist, Supreme Court
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.