Instead of boycott, vote for sure-loser Party-list
POSTSCRIPT By Federico D. Pascual Jr.
The Philippine Star
NEGATIVE VOTE: A politician friend offered what looks like a partial solution to our dilemma of boycotting party-lists with dubious nominees but, in so doing, merely improving their chances of winning seats in the House of Representatives.
His solution: Instead of boycotting or skipping the party-list part of the ballot, vote for the PLs that are SURE LOSERS. Your negative vote will help increase the total votes cast for all PLs while reducing the proportionate share of the PLs that you want to defeat.
Remember, the total number of votes cast for all PLs is the basis of the computation of the two-percent threshold that entitles a party-list to one House seat.
When the total universe of votes is huge, the chances of one PL getting two percent are lessened. And while the obscure PL that you vote for may gain an extra vote, it is likely to lose anyway.
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SURE LOSERS: Some of the 185 party-lists in the running are still bound to come out winners because the Constitution mandates that 20 percent of all House seats must go to representatives of marginalized or under-represented sectors.
But your negative vote for a sure loser is likely to ruin the chances of party-lists with dubious nominees — such as discredited politicians and slick operators using PLs to sneak into the Congress.
Which are the sure losers? We will not dare identify them here, but by perusing the list (assuming the Commission on Elections has done its job of publishing it) you will know them.
What we can do at this point is tell you which one survey says are the front-running party-lists. If you do not like these leading PLs, at least you know whom not to vote for.
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TOP 16 PARTIES: The last survey of the Manila Standard showed that the party-lists Gabriela and Bayan Muna, described as leftist, led the field with six percent each of the 2,500 registered voters who participated nationwide. With its six percent, a PL can get the maximum of three seats.
Conducted March 21-23, the survey asked respondents for the first time since MS polling started last December to also indicate their choice of party-list on the facsimile ballot aside from their voting for president, vice president and senators.
Only 16 party-lists out of the 185 that had submitted nominees garnered at least 2 percent of the total PL votes cast.
Aside from Gabriela and Bayan Muna, the other “winners” were AKB, An Waray and Akbayan (with four percent each); A Teacher, Anakpawis, Senior Citizens, Buhay and Kabataan (three percent each); and Apec, 1 Ang Pamilya, Kalinga, Abono, Anak and Coop-Natcco (two percent each).
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DIVISIVE TRIBALISM: People have shown interest in scrutinizing the nominees of faceless party-lists represented by acronyms. But it is difficult forming an opinion about the PLs since the Comelec still has to publish their respective nominees.
It comes as a surprise to the average voter that AKB, that reportedly got four percent in the survey, stands for Ako Bicol Political Party. As for An Waray, this is a multisectoral group drawing members mostly from Leyte, Samar and Biliran.
The Comelec should have been more careful in allowing party-lists based on ethnic colors. After opening the door to Bikolanos, Warays, and other ethnic groups, how can it draw the line when other tribal groups also claim the same right to launch similar party-lists?
Aside from the divisive effects of having parties based on tribal or ethnic origins of people, there is also the matter of redundancy. All the provinces where these ethnic and tribal groups reside are already represented by the congressmen in their districts.
Responding to demands that the Comelec disqualify certain party-lists, the poll body says it is too late. Of course, it is too late. The agency had neglected its due diligence in screening party-lists jostling for accreditation.
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ANG GALING NG UTAK: One focal point in the controversy over PL nominees is presidential son Rep. Mikey Arroyo of the second district of Pampanga. He has been nominated by Ang Galing Pinoy, a party-list of security guards.
Another official, former Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, has been nominated by 1 Utak, a party-list representing the transport sector.
It might interest those following their political saga that the Manila Standard survey gave 1-Utak one percent of the votes. Ang Galing Pinoy of congressman Arroyo did not make it.
Of course, those are just survey scores. They do not necessarily reflect the final outcome of the May 10 elections.
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AGAIN?: Mention of Reyes, former energy secretary, reminds us of another energy official who wants to repackage himself as head of a so-called energy team of a presidential contender, to the consternation of people who know his ugly past in government.
Other advisers of the presidential candidate, who is in the lead pack, are wary that this energy adviser’s entry will be counter-productive since he is known in the energy sector for his sticky fingers when handling big contracts.
He is remembered for awarding contracts to favored friends, and reportedly pocketing commissions. It was during his watch when blackouts gripped the country in the early 90s. He was instrumental in sealing deals with independent power producers (IPPs) causing electricity rates to soar.
The IPP deals were doled out without public bidding, with the government guaranteeing payments even if power is not delivered.
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