No domination by rich in SC party-list ruling - Ako-Bicol

Posted at 04/11/13 7:58 PM

MANILA - There is no such thing as domination by the rich in the party-list system even if the new guidelines set by the Supreme Court are put into place, Ako-Bicol (AKB) party-list said.

“Even if the system has been opened, there are checks and balances since we are also covered by election rules such as airtime and expenditure limits,” AKB Rep. Rodel Batocabe said.

He said stakeholders should just accept the landmark ruling, noting their fears can be answered by safeguards in the law.

AKB, one of the 52 groups that won in the SC case, had argued that the constitution clearly intended to open party-list system to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives.

Batocabe noted the system has a self-cleansing mechanism where parties that have not garnered sufficient votes can be delisted.

He said both traditional media and social media can easily expose “a party-list which has not done anything.”

He believes that the justices of the high court who approved the majority opinion of Senior Justice Antonio Carpio only upheld the “true intent of the framers of the constitution.”

“What our Supreme Court did was just to affirm and concretize these principles in the well-written and learned ponencia of Justice Carpio. Even the latest appointee to the Supreme Court, former UP College of Law Dean, Justice Marvic Leonen could not help but concur with the majority opinion. These are intellectual giants talking,” he said.

He also cited the concurring opinion of Associate Justice Arturo Brion that “the business and principal function of this Court is not to create policy or to supplant what the Constitution and the law expressly provide. This Court (Supreme Court) and its members cannot likewise act as advocates, even for social justice for, any ideology for that matter, as advocacy is not the task assigned to us by the Constitution.”