Press Release
August 17, 2006


Noting politicians shifting party alliances and the long-standing political dependence on the moneyed elite, Senator Edgardo J. Angara yesterday called for improving and developing the political party system in the country by way of a Political Party Development Fund.

Political party system in the country is basically confined to personalities rather than issues and political platform. said Angara. History tells us that most political aspirants change political parties for convenience, rather than because of conviction, platforms and programs. This only shows the lack of ideological commitment of the politicians because they choose parties based on the rise and fall of the tide of opportunity, Angara explained.

The said Political Development Fund shall be appropriated in the national budget and shall provide subsidy to political parties for their operational expenses and party-building activities. This fund will be used not only for electoral campaign but also for the partys developmental programs.

A political party may qualify to receive a portion from the Party Development Fund if its national candidates garnered at least 15 percent of the popular vote in the most recent general elections.

Angara also said that there have been many attempts to reform orientation of political parties in the past. However, they have not been successful because of lack of legal institutional framework to govern system of political parties.

It is imperative that political party system should be strengthened if we want to develop, and achieve genuine political development and democratization. We have to enact laws to prevent the system of ward politics and political chameleons that we have today, Angara said.

Angara said that turncoatism should never be encouraged nor tolerated since it only distorts the concept of the public servants word of honor and the leaders dignity. He also said that the politicians should give importance to party ideals and policy agenda rather than the political pragmatism and survival.

For instance, a member who got elected through a certain ticket suddenly wants to change his party affiliation come May 2007 elections. What he must do is to resign first from his elective position and must seek an entirely fresh mandate from the electorate under a new political party, Angara explained. Likewise, defecting persons cannot be appointed nor hold any position in any public office, till after the expiration of the term within which they were elected, he continued.

The lack of a genuine party system feeds corruption and political parties that lack strong ideological foundations are more prone to resort to fraud, Angara said.

We are politically unstable since we have not strengthened democratic institutions that characterize a true democracy, like a strong party system, an independent press and judiciary and a neutral military, he continued.

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