A is for Annoying
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Commission on Elections has passed a resolution deciding to do away with the alphabetical system of listing party-list group names and make their appearance in ballots determined through raffle, instead for the 2013 polls. Party-list groups or coalitions accredited by or duly registered with the Comelec, and have manifested their desire to participate in the party-list election may participate in the raffle that will be held on December 14 at the Comelec session hall at the Palacio del Gobernador Building in Intramuros, Manila.
One of the things that almost destroyed the party-list system, aside from its being exploited by ruthless politicians as a quick and easy way to get into Congress, is the way party-list groups have abused the use of the letter “A” in an aim to be at the top of the list in the ballot in an ingenious but tasteless bid to get more votes from the indolent voters who cannot be troubled with going through the entire list of party-list groups up for election. Switching the list from alphabetized to a randomized one in the ballot, should end that practice and hopefully give us party-list names that are more descriptive of their advocacies and agendum.
The theory behind the party-list system is laudable but unfortunately it is marred by too many loopholes that could be exploited and it also suffered from poor execution by the Comelec in the previous elections. Next year’s elections will show us whether the Commission is really serious about allowing the party-list concept to achieve its goal of providing representation for the underrepresented sectors of society.
A few months ago, the Comelec promised to improve screening procedures to weed out the traditional politicians who are trying to take advantage of the party-list system to get in Congress. This recent decision to stop the party-list groups starting with names starting in “A” from dominating the allotted seats in Congress may not sound as important, but this minor tweak, if done transparently, fairly, and properly, can restore a lot of the lost credibility that the party-list system has suffered from the abusive and exploitative practices of the past.*