Poll watchdog backs stricter rules for party-list accreditation

MANILA An election watchdog on Wednesday supported the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) adoption of stricter rules in the accreditation of groups/organizations for the party-list polls.

Such stricter methods would be most welcome if they will target the rich and powerful, not the marginalized and underrepresented in whose name the party-list system was established more than 20 years ago, Danilo Arao, Kontra Daya convenor, said in an interview.

Stricter accreditation is very important at a time when the rich and powerful are bastardizing the system, Arao added.

He said the initiative should also be supported by lawmakers.

Comelec's initiatives should be complemented by Congressional approval of amendments to the Party-list System Act of 1995, particularly the prohibition on incumbent government officials and members of political clans from becoming party-list nominees, Arao said.

Arao called on the Supreme Court to rethink its 2013 decision, which has become the basis for many bogus party-list groups to hijack the party-list election system.

He believes that the Comelec can only do so much given the infirmities of election laws and money politics, among other concerns.

In 2013, the High Court has ruled to allow political parties and groups not representing marginalized and unrepresented sectors to participate in the party-list elections.

The decision revised Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-list System Act of 1995, which required national and regional parties or organizations to represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

Earlier, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said she will be pushing for stricter rules before a party-list group is allowed to run for Congress in future polls.

This came after the poll body's first division rejected the nomination of former National Youth Commission chairperson Ronald Cardema as the representative of the Duterte Youth party-list, for being overaged.

Guanzon is also looking to introduce additional requirements, particularly rules on the use of names of popular politicians as names of the party-list group.

"Those party-list groups, which use the name of any politician or living person, must have the consent of that person under oath," the Comelec commissioner earlier said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency