ImagePress Statement

April 19, 2013

Prompted by the recent decision of the Supreme Court (SC) in response to the Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC) position as to who are qualified to join in the Partylist System elections, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Eastern Visayas (Bayan-EV) Secretary General Jun Berino expressed their groups criticism of the so-called anti-poor ruling.

Foremost, Bayan-EV recognizes the limited medium of the poor and marginalized to participate directly in the formulation of policies and laws through the Partylist System, which has developed to be more difficult at present after the SC ruling.

Such difficulty arises from the deprivation and dismissal of the provision itself in the Partylist Law including the previous decision of the Supreme Court that the Partylist System (which has an allocated portion of 20% seats in Congress) is reserved for the poor and marginalized sectors of the society under the impetus of social justice.

Given the reality when the rich and powerful politicians utilize the Partylist system for their ends, Berino avers it is very wrong to exploit it as ‘easy tool’ and cheaper medium to clinch Congress seats especially those coming from rich and powerful political groups who are able to vie in regular elections in congressional districts.

Berino adds that based on previous experiences, abuse of the Partylist system is already seen in allowing those unfit to join such as the Partylist of former President Gloria Arroyo’s son who became a ‘representative’ of the underrepresented security guards.

In Eastern Visayas, Bayan-EV questioned the An Waray Partylist because it is seen as questionable to genuinely represent the poor. Its nominees in Congress are millionaires and not coming from their ranks that led to minimal legislation favoring the poor and sectors it is supposed to represent.

However, given the clearance provided by the Supreme Court, it is already permitted and legal to exploit the Partylist law for billionaires such as those big landlords, the supporters & financiers, for example, of President Noynoy Aquino and big businessmen & lackeys of foreign corporations like those operating in mining corporations. Meanwhile, the Partylist race even allows traditional politicians to join in.

Bayan-EV further expresses frustration over the essential dissolution of the opportunity for the poor in Congress and in that light, the impoverished sectors of the society face further entrenchment in poverty and marginalization in terms of lawmaking. More so because of such decision, the rich and powerful enjoys the exploit of the Partylist law to create and implement policies through Congress while the underrepresented sectors is being pushed further behind the corner by the SC ruling.

Bayan-EV also points towards intensified backing behind laws favoring the rich and powerful while the people’s opportunity to oppose and rectify any policy conflicting with the people’s interest is diminished. The chances of the people to legislate pro-poor laws is further reduced as in the case of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) still pending in Congress which is supposed to liberate the majority of peasants from the clutches of historical social injustice and inequality.

After all, at present when the legal political field becomes more diluted and in conflict with the people’s interest viewed in the context of the Partylist system, Bayan-EV describes the developing situation as rather inviting for the poor and marginalized to participate in armed resistance and struggle.

Amidst the pro-rich sequential decisions of the SC, Bayan-EV declares it will pursue the more reliable and tested way of achieving social reforms by means of galvanizing the people’s unity through arousing, organizing and mobilizing for their interest within and beyond the bounds of street parliament.


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