Partylist Representatives or PLR, for short

October 08, 2018

Because of what happened at the airport with a partylist member of Congress elected by minority votes unlike the full-fledged Congressmen who are elected by the majority of the electors in their respective districts, there is a need to differentiate from the regular and truly elected Congressmen ng bayan. I’ve been asked to give an opinion.

They say that the partylist elected by a minority group to be in Congress must be called Representatives or partylist representatives to differentiate from the duly elected Congressmen. It is only fair since some partylist Congressmen are more carefree in their actuations as they won in an easier way with fewer percentage votes to be able to sit in Congress. Actually as I recall, then President Cory Aquino intended the partylist members in Congress to focus on the needs of the particular interest groups under which they were elected. But as things are, they have been politicized and the interest of their groups they committed themselves to help were put in the back-burner as some people are saying, including the OFWs as everybody saw on television.

There are so many of them representing every walk of life which, hopefully, they are able to do what they have promised to do for their sector. They spend less to run as partylist candidate and yet are paid exactly the same salary, allowances and privileges as a regular Congressman who went through an expensive campaign and subjects themselves to extreme scrutiny from the voters. I am only commenting because of recent events where the reputation of the entire Congress as an institution was given a black eye just because of a partylist member, as everybody knows.

I was told that it is only fair that should the partylist system is to continue, there is definitely a need to differentiate its members from the regular and duly elected Congressmen in Congress. That is fair enough, I think.

Giving the partylist members of Congress to be called “representatives” which is actually what Congressmen are called anyway would be appropriate for the partylist members of Congress. If anyone of them transgresses the law; or does inappropriate behavior; or commit indiscretions, at least hindi nadadamay the whole members of Congress. A full-fledged Congressman elected by the voters of an entire district carries a bigger responsibility and is answerable to the respective district he/she represents – unlike a partylist representative that has no distinguishable boundary. Malakas ang dating when one is called a Congressman.

After all have been said and done, there is a need to re-examine the qualification and commitment in running for a partylist position to represent a certain particular sector. As things are, it does not make sense for some rich politicians and rich individuals to ride on the partylist system with a promise for the betterment of the poor sector they promise to represent. Oftentimes, it does not happen that way. At the end of the day, it’s the partylist congressman who is ultimately benefitted, not the poor or sector they pledged and committed to improve their lives and defend their well-being. Of course, it all depends on the person.

As I recall, what’s happening now is not the way it was conceived originally that gave birth to the partylist system. There is a need for Congress to review the system. It has not favored the poor sector they promised to improve and to protect; and those they allege to defend their well-being.

If this is not rationalized, I think things can go awry in Congress. The truly elected Congressmen who are committed to the welfare of the entire nation, as a body, will find great difficulty to do the best for the entire country and its people because of petty differences with those who defend only a small sector whose focus is minute compared to the real objective of Congress which should be holistic; and “Country First.” In so doing, everybody is benefitted. Lahat ma-bebenipisyohan na rin.

A Congressman of a district is already committed for the welfare of the district he/she represents; and that applies for all the districts in the entire country to have a veritable congressman to improve the lives of their constituents as best as they can – the poor, the middle class and the rich for they, too, have rights under the law.

There are a few critical sectors that may need particular and special attention. But then the government departments and agencies are tasked to also help all of them as well. An assistance from a partylist representative would help, definitely.

The important thing is to serve the people and lessen politics. Everything seems to be politically charged nowadays. Let’s forget politics for awhile when the country is suffering from inflation that affects everybody, especially the poor, caused by outside forces. The upsurge of prices of oil in the world market is one big cause. It’s time to unite for the sake of the people. If “to unite” is too much to ask from the opposition, please just lessen the squabble and antagonistic behavior for the good of the entire nation.

In times like these, please think of the others and not of yourselves for a change. And that goes for each and everyone of us.

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