No need for Cha-Cha to change party-list system — De Lima

 By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

PHOTO: Rappler

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima said Saturday she is joining the growing call in the Senate to simply amend the Party-List System Act, noting the policy could be altered without tinkering with the 1987 charter. 

"I join the growing call in the Senate to simply amend the Party-List System Act, which has long been bastardized by those so drunk on powers, money and influence, instead of pushing for Cha-Cha," De Lima said in a statement. 

The former chair of the Commission on Human Rights further questioned efforts to revive talks on constitutional amendments even as the country continues to deal with a raging pandemic, among other problems.

"How is this a valid excuse anyway? Calling for Cha-Cha in order to reform the party-list system and weed out the Communists is about as stupid as setting fire to your house to get rid of a termite infestation. It creates more problems than it solves," she said. 

De Lima recalled that as early as July 2019, she already filed a bill seeking to amend the Party-List System Act (SBN 372) which, to date, is the only bill in the Senate that tackles the matter – to stress that the party-list system has always been a platform and avenue aimed at helping our countrymen from the marginalized sectors have their voices heard in Congress.

She reiterated that the party-list system was created to help the abused, and not to pave way for more political dynasties in the Congress. 

The senator also claimed that revival talks to amend the 1987 Constitution in a bid to change the party-list system, would only push the governments' "ultimate agenda of seizing complete control".

"Those pushing for charter change are only making the Party List System an excuse so they can open up the Constitution to push their ultimate agenda of seizing complete control," she said. 

"For how can it be in the name of a noble intention when it would entail billions in public funds while the country remains languishing in trillions of debt, rising poverty, increasing hunger, and an unprecedented surge in joblessness and unemployment?" she added. 

Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress leaders to amend the 1987 Constitution as he wanted to change the party-list system to protect it from "groups calling for the fall of government."