Political party system act OK'd on first reading
Bill appropriates P500M state subsidy fund for political parties

By CenPEG News
February 8, 2012 

The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reform (CSER) last February 7 approved on first reading a bill strengthening the political party system and creating a state subsidy fund for political parties.

The proposed Political Party System Act, which seeks to strengthen the political party system with fund appropriations, is a substitute bill on House Bill Nos. 49, 403, and 159 authored by Reps. Rufus Rodriguez, Maximo B. Rodriguez, Jr., Juan Edgardo Angara, Raymond Democrito Mendoaza, and Arthur C. Yap.

In a written comment submitted to the committee, CenPEG said it supports the bill particularly its commitment to professionalizing as well as instilling party loyalty and discipline to the country’s political parties.

CenPEG clarified, however, that some of the bill’s provisions should be revised or strengthened.

For instance, instead of optional the bill should make it mandatory for all political parties to hold a convention to elect its candidates in an election.

While the substitute bill prohibits “political turncoatism” it allows the practice for elective officials within six months of the election. CenPEG said this contradicts the bill’s declaration of policy when it puts an exception to its prohibition and, thus, defeats the objective of promoting party loyalty and discipline.

CenPEG also asked that no foreign national or entity be allowed to give election campaign contributions in any form.

The bill also appropriates a state subsidy fund to level the playing field for all political parties running in an election. Upon the Act’s approval, PhP500M will be appropriated for the first election followed by PhP350M in succeeding elections.

CenPEG, in its position paper, disagreed however that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should act as the lead agency for accrediting political parties qualified for the fund and other administrative matters. CenPEG said not only is Comelec already overburdened with election management, accreditation, adjudication, and other administrative duties but it also faces issues of impartiality, independence, and accountability. The management of the state subsidy fund requires independence and impartiality, CenPEG said. CenPEG News

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