Party-list system being 'bastardized' by questionable groups - poll watchdog

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) — Election watchdog Kontra Daya said the country's party-list system is being "bastardized" after it flagged around 120 questionable party-list groups listed in the coming May 9 polls.

"It's a high level of bastardization," Kontra Daya convenor Danilo Arao told CNN Philippines' The Final Word.

Arao said his group did background checks on all 177 party-list groups and found that 70% are backed by political clans or big businesses. This is much higher than the 62 out of 134 party-list groups that it flagged in the 2019 elections.

He named some of the questionable party-lists like Abante Sambayan, MOCHA Party-list, CWS Party-list, and ACT-CIS Party-list - which has been flagged twice because of its association with the Tulfos.

The list also includes those allegedly controlled by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, according to Arao.

He said these groups are using the party-list system to "add more seats in their quest to control the House of Representatives" - depriving marginalized sectors.

Arao admitted nothing much can be done now since the questionable groups are already on the official ballot.

"The most that we can do number one would be to educate the voters that if you are voting for this particular party-list group, you have to know pertinent information about such group, and number two, we have to constantly call out the Comelec for their failure... how were they able to get past the scrutiny of the Comelec?" he said.