Capiz Representative Fredenil Castro has endorsed for plenary passage a legislative proposal strengthening the party-list system by relaxing rules required for its members to participate in electoral exercises.
Castro, who chairs the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said House Bill 6056’s primary goal is "to make the provisions of Republic Act 7941 or the Partylist System Act more consistent with the constitutional mandate, intent and purpose to democratize the Philippine electoral and political system."
The bill states that "any national, regional or sectoral party, organization, or coalition already registered with the Commission on Elections under RA 7941 need not register anew and shall automatically be eligible to participate in the party-list elections without need of further requirements,” said Castro, a member of the National Unity Party (NUP).
He said this applies to partylist organizations that have not ceased to exist for “at least one year prior to the date of the party-list elections, or [were] not dissolved, absorbed, merged."
The measure also provides that "any national, regional or sectoral party, organization, or coalition shall formally manifest its intention to participate in the party-list elections 180 days before the elections."
HB 6056 is a substitute bill to two original measures. One of them is HB 4549 authored by Representatives Anthony Bravo, Julieta Cortuna, Christopher Co, Rodel Batocabe, Cresente Paez, Catalina Leonen-Pizarro, Lorna Velasco, and Roy Seneres, who are all partylist allies of the NUP, along with, fellow lawmakers Ibarra Gutierrez III, Juan Johnny Revilla, Edgardo Masongsong, Nicanor Briones, Rico Geron, Gary Alejano, Francisco Ashley Acedillo, Rufus Rodriguez, Maximo Rodriguez, Jr., Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, Samuel Pagdilao, Erlinda Santiago, and Pablo Nava III.
The other bill substituted by HB 6056 is HB 179 authored by Representatives Neri Colmenares, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Luzviminda Ilagan, Emmi De Jesus, Antonio Tinio, Fernando Hicap and Terry Ridon.
HB 6056 also provides that any qualified group of persons may register as a national, regional or sectoral political party and as a participant in the party-list system by filing with the Comelec not later than 180 days before the election a petition verified by its president or chairperson, or in their absence, the secretary-general.
The bill also provides that for the purpose of registering as a sectoral party, the sectors shall include, but not limited to, labor, peasant, fisher-folk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, cooperatives, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas and professional sectors. National and regional parties shall not be required to register a sectoral constituency for the purpose of participating in the party-list system.
Under the measure, the COMELEC may, on its own initiative, refuse to give due course to the registration of a partylist group if it is shown that such a move was done to place the party-list election process in mockery or disrepute, or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of petitioner's name to any previously registered party-list organization, among other grounds.