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ROUGH CUTS | Deliberately dividing Filipinos in classes?

Vic N. Sumalinog

ONE thing really that we cannot fathom was the wisdom of those who framed the 1987 Constitution of our country.

     Yes, we cannot understand why they came up with the idea of allowing the formation of Partylist groups supposedly to represent certain sectors of society when already there are specific regular members of Congress who are the representatives of the people to the country’s lawmaking body.

     Why are they called representatives if they are only representing certain sectors of the population and not all?  Somehow, we cannot help but think that the creation of Partylist groups by the country’s fundamental law itself was one deliberate move of the then administration that assumed after the so-called EDSA Revolution to pay huge debts of gratitude to various people’s organizations that supported the cause that was espoused by those who were cast out of the power corridor during that time. Unfortunately, the framers failed to provide the necessary safeguards of that provision from abuse by vested interest groups. Hence, the possibly well-intentioned provision of the Charter is now wantonly taken advantage of by scheming individuals and even corporations if only to serve their purpose.

     It is therefore no more surprising if during the past elections after the EDSA thing and until the coming one that Partylist groups claiming to represent this and that sector sprouted like mushrooms. The problem is, the elections have become venues of opportunists to claim they are out to give voices to the under-represented sectors even as very clearly they are creations of some power hungry politicians and greedy businessmen out to accumulate more wealth and power by concocting their own sectors and setting up connections to the source of power and authority.

     Why, are fisherfolks and farmers, drivers and transport operators, athletes, and medical front liners, indigenous peoples, leftists and believers of other ideologies not part of the Filipino people? 

     Well, maybe as part of the then administration’s policy of attraction to anti-government groups to return to the fold of government and the mainstream society, the offer of representation to Congress to those who go against the duly constituted authorities may be the idea behind.  But as we said earlier in this treatise, the Charter framers might not have seen the implications of such provision other than the possible collaboration of anti-government forces with the then newly installed Aquino first administration.

     These days, we are starting to find out that we Filipinos cannot claim that we are just one nation of people; that regardless of ethnic origin, education level and status in life we are Filipinos.

     The creation of the Partylist system though makes us think that we are not one as a people. Instead it betrays the reality that we are a people divided and hopelessly wanting in assimilation. And more sadly, the perpetuation of such social division is shrewdly enshrined in our Constitution.

     How much our government could have saved in personnel expenditures if the Partylist creation is provided the strictest of guidelines in acquiring accreditation, or totally not provided in our fundamental law?

     That is why we believe that the Charter change proposal must be pursued by whoever comes as President of the Republic after the May 9, 2022 elections. And this Partylist provision must be keenly looked into as to its relevance today as it was after the so-called People’s Power-installed government.

     We are starting to think aloud why this issue of the relevance of the Partylist system was not asked during the past Presidential, Vice Presidential and Senatorial debates. We are hoping that some panelists or the aspirants themselves will raise questions on this issue during the coming COMELEC-initiated debates.  


     Last Wednesday early in the afternoon we missed the opportunity of meeting a candidate for councilor in Davao City’s third district. The aspirant who dropped by to take some cold snacks our children are offering to thirsty passers-by and local residents told us that the guy is Carmelo “Bebot” Clarion, a former appointed councilor to fill up the vacancy created when then third district councilor Bernie Al-ad was appointed acting Vice Mayor to take the place of resigned VM Paolo Duterte, now first District and reelectionist congressman

     Clarion, according to our son, was looking for us to thank us for writing about his unacted proposed ordinance during his one year incumbency in the City Council. We learned later through a Facebook post that Bebot Clarion was in our place with some other barangay officials to turn over a hearing aid to a deaf resident in our place. The candidate said in the Facebook post that he secured the gadget through First district Congressman Polong.

     Is the assistance part of Clarion’s so-called advocacy in hus “Clarion Cares?” Of course any one can suspect his motive. After all he is a candidate for councilor in the third district.

     For comments and/or reactions we can be reached through our e-mail address: victorino.sumalinog@yahoo.com; Mobile No. 09392980435; or Landline 2372169.   

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