Angara calls for deep reform in political party system

SENATOR Edgardo J. Angara called for deep reforms in the country’s political party system in light of renewed trust in public officials following the impeachment trial Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Angara, who has served as Senator for over two decades, said, “Our politics remains very bad, breeding poor governance and corruption that stifles the delivery of public services. This is because the structure of our politics, especially of our political party system, is flawed.”

He continued, “Unfortunately our political parties are based on moneyed personalities—the people who can finance campaigns and help pay for the party. It’s hard to find a group that has genuinely coalesced and maintained their cohesion because of a shared ideology or platform.”

“Then there is this phenomenon, come election time, of the mass exodus of congressmen, governors, mayors and other candidates towards the winning or ruling party because the largesse and patronage are there. But then this process begins again after six years, when a new administration is elected. That I think is at the heart why we remain poor, while our neighbors prosper.”

Angara made the remarks during a lecture delivered by former Dean of the UP College of Law Raul C. Pangalangan.

Also present were UP President Dr. Fred Pascual; UP Diliman Chancellor Dr. Caesar Saloma; former NEDA Director-General Dr. Gerardo P. Sicat; Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo; Dr. Randy David; former UP President Emerlinda Roman; and Brazilian Ambassador to the Philippines Alcides G.R. Prates.

Angara co-authored with Sen. Jinggoy Estrada the Political Party Development Act (SBN 3214) which seeks to institutionalize a strong party system throughout the country and promote transparency in campaign financing.

The measure, which has been pending for three Congresses, seeks to establish a Party Development Fund to support accredited political parties for their party development and campaign expenditures.  It also aims to penalize political turncoats—elected officials who switch party affiliations after being elected on a certain ticket.

“It is good that the current administration has put an emphasis on transparency and accountability, but we’ve still got to get our political party system right. Otherwise our policymaking will remain hostage to vested interests that finance campaigns and marred by the political flip-flopping that underpins our boom-and-bust economic and social development cycle,” Angara said.


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