Do you know that the party list Ako Bicol (AKB) representatives purporting to represent a marginalized group are multi-millionaires? AKB Representative Christopher Co has a net worth of P87.5 million and the 36th among the millionaires sitting in the Philippine’s 15th congress. The second AKB rep, Rodel Batocabe, has P29.2 million for networth.
This is not an isolated case since almost all party lists have nominees who are millionaires and businessmen. Party list representatives in the current congress counts 52 millionaires out of 56.
Meanwhile, in the just concluded mid-term elections, Ako Bicol garnered 761,115 votes, the sixth highest among the contending party lists, enough to seat two representatives for the new congress. The third nominee, Alfredo Garbin Jr., lost his House seat.
It must be recalled that the core objectives of the party list system as embodied in the 1987 Philippine constitution include the empowerment and articulation of the interests of the marginalized sectors of Philippine society who don’t have the political base nor the financial resources to be represented in the legislature. It also aimed to strengthen the party system and make Philippine politics more issue-oriented.
The system also aimed to consolidate the national consensus and genuine democratization of the electoral process by bringing to the legislature the marginalized and the under-represented groups of our country. It was geared to ensure peace and unity throughout our nation by reinforcing people’s trust in peaceful change.