Press Release
May 17, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara sought to reexamine the provisions on eligibility and political turncoatism of the Political Party bill, taking into consideration the inputs of stakeholders during today's public hearing.

Through the Political Party Development Act, Angara seeks to institutionalize the political party system and reorient it toward one based on ideology and platform rather than on personalities, which marks the country's traditional politics.

The proposed bill will create a Party Development Fund which will help finance the party-building activities and development projects of accredited national political parties. It also encourages political parties to raise funds through transparent means to lessen dependence on contributions from illegal sources, such as gambling and drugs.

Angara suggested that 10 percent of the Country Development Fund be earmarked for this purpose.

The Political Party bill will also authorize the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to accredit national political parties that would qualify to receive state subsidy based on a set of criteria. The criteria currently covers political representation, organizational strength and mobilization capability, and performance and track record of the party.

However, Angara and the resource persons present at the hearing agreed to make the list of criteria more detailed and comprehensive to lessen the Comelec's discretion in accrediting political parties.

Some of the stakeholders in attendance during the public hearing were Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Consortium on Electoral Reform; Raul Castillo, administrator of the Pastoral Parish Council for Responsible Voting; Atty. Raul Lambino, vice-president for legal affairs of LAKAS-CAMPI CMD; and Atty. Jaime Caringal, deputy director general of the Liberal Party.

Angara, chairman of the Subcommittee on Political Party under the Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revisions of Codes and Laws, also said that the provision on political turncoatism will be tackled at length at the next public hearing. The bill wants to discourage the prevalent practice of joining and changing political parties for political expediency rather than conviction.

Angara has been pushing to strengthen the country's political party system since the 12th Congress. He is hopeful that the bill will finally be passed this 15th Congress as it is a long overdue piece of reform.

"The kind of people a political party would recruit and groom for leadership largely determines the kind of political leadership our people will get. Hence, we need to transform political parties into accountable public institutions," he explained.

Angara continued, "This bill will aid in the maturation of our representative democracy. We must extricate our political system from the vested interests of oligarchs and dirty money and promote platform- and policy-based competition among parties."

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