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What is the Party-List System?

The party-list system is a new way of electing representatives to Congress. It is based on:

Article VI, Sec. 5 of the Philippine Constitution
R.A. 7941 enacted on March 3, 1995
COMELEC resolution 2847

Up to now, we have only elected representatives to Congress by congressional district (e.g. Maria Maganda was elected to congress to represent the 1st district of Manila). But on May 11, 1998 we will elect party-list representatives.


Why the party-list system (or why is it important)?

The Party-List System enables marginalized underrepresented sectors and small parties to truly participate in elections and obtain representation in the House of Representatives

It decentralizes power from established Political Parties that traditionally dominate Congress.

Necessitates familiarization with the platforms and programs of participating groups and not just with personalities

Broadens and enriches the multi-party system.

Encourages membership in a particular party or group.

In a nut-shell it is a decentralization and pro-people development in the Legislative Branch of our government. Think of sectoral representatives who can pass bills (and turn them into laws) that will benefit particular sectors of society (i.e. women, farmers, laborers, etc.) and small parties having the chance to have a seat in congress.


How many seats in Congress are available for party-list representatives?

Twenty percent (20%) of the seats in the House of Representatives is reserved for party-list elected representatives.

For 1998, with 205 elected district representatives, there will be 51 seats available for party-list representatives.

If before May 11, Congress create new districts and we have 208 district representatives, then there will be 52 available party-list seats.


Who can we vote for in the Party-List System?

We will vote for registered, organized groups, parties or coalitions instead of individual candidates. The group, party, or coalition is the party of the party-list system.

They may represent sectoral interests. The identified sectors are laborers, fisherfolk, tribal/indigenous people, handicapped, youth, overseas workers, farmers, urban poor, elderly, women, veterans, and professionals.

They may represent causes (e.g. environment)

They may represent national/regional political parties.

The rationale here is proportional representation of 1) underrepresented and marginalized sector and 2) underrepresented or small parties. Hence, the five leading parties based on their representation from the beginning of the 10th Congress cannot participate under the party-list system.

The five major political parties disqualified from participating in the party-list system on May 1998 are:


Liberal Party (LP)

Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP)

Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)

Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL)


How shall the votes be cast?

The voting for the system will be at large not by sector.

All votes obtained by a party regardless of constituency will be tallied on a nationwide basis.

The percentage of votes garnered by a party will be computed in relation to the total votes cast for the party-list nationwide.


How shall party-list seats be allocated?

The parties shall be ranked from highest to lowest based on the percentage of votes garnered during the elections.

Only a maximum of 3 seats may be allowed per party. Hence obtaining 6% or more votes of the total number of votes cast for the party-list is equivalent only to 3 seats.

Having votes equal to 4% of the total votes entitles the party to 2 seats.

To obtain 1 seat in Congress a party should obtain votes that are equivalent to 2% of the total number of votes cast for the party-list.

The number of voters who cast votes for the party-list may be less than the total number of voters. Some may neglect or choose not to vote for a party-list.


Who is/are the representatives of the party in a party-list system?

Each registered party should have submitted to COMELEC at least 5 ranked nominees.

Should a party win three party-list seats, the first three from the ranked list will each have a seat in Congress.

The others next in rank are spare should any of the first in rank be unable to represent the party-list during the term.


What else should voters know about the party-list?

Sattelite parties

COMELEC may, on its own, or upon verified complaint of any interested party, refuse or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any entity. COMELEC Res. No. 2847 contains detailed information.

See the roster of Parties running this coming May 1998 Election.


    lens.jpg (15783 bytes)CHAPEL NET
Christian Action for Peaceful and Meaningful Elections
Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City
Tel. No. 924-4951 local 3588, Fax No. 924-4442
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