State subsidy to political parties will not in PHL – Joker

SENATOR Joker Arroyo on Monday said that the proposed measure to give state subsidy to political parties will not work in the Philippines due to political acrobats, where politicians jump from one group to another.

In an interview, Arroyo, who ran independent since 1992, also said that the proposed measure, authored by Senator Edgardo Angara, is not doable in the country because of a multi-party system.

“The bill is very good, but subsidy magkaka-problema kasi pera iyan eh, maraming away dyan,” Arroyo said.

He said if the country has two party systems just like in the US; the state can easily apportion the funds to only two groups.

“Mahirap yan eh, puwede sa America ang subsidy kasi dalawa lang ang partido, democrats and republican.  Dalawa lang ang naglalaban, kaya puwede mong masabi na, eto, 50% goes to Republican, 50% goes to Democrats,” he explained.

But in a country with diverse political beliefs and groupings, Arroyo said that the problem of distribution will arise when the proposed measure is enacted.

“Especially, if it will be used in the incoming elections, paano mo mahahati iyon? How can you distribute that? Halimbawa, in one province,  may kandidato si NPC, may kandidato si Liberal, may kandidato si Nacionalista, may kandidato si PRP, kung may five parties fighting each other, how can you distribute that. One province is different from another province,” he explained.

“Eh dito sa atin after the 2013 elections, maraming partido ang mabubura dyan eh. Magkaroon ng groupings na naman.  We have a multi-party system, we keep on regrouping and regrouping after elections and before elections,” he added.

He said, instead of focusing on the state subsidy, the bill should centred on penalizing political butterflies, where  politicians went to other party after another and it depends on who was in the administration.

“In order for us to be matured enough, we should pass the first part of the bill, which is penalizing political acrobats, they are like monkeys who are making somersaults in the political arena,” Arroyo explained.

Under the Angara Bill,  the Political Party Development Act (PPDA), which among other things creates a State Subsidy Fund – amounting to P350 million – that accredited national political parties can use exclusively for campaign expenditures and routine operations like civic education, research and policy development, recruitment, and training for members.

According to the proposed PPDA (SBN 3214), the subsidy will be proportionately shared among accredited national parties based on three broad criteria: 1) political representation; 2) organizational strength and mobilization capability; and 3) performance and track record of the party.

On the Senate version of the measure, ten percent of the total fund will be allotted to the COMELEC for monitoring purposes and the conduct of information dissemination and voters’ education activities.

The remaining 90 percent will be distributed based on the number of seats the political party had obtained in the most recent general elections for the Senate, the House of Representatives, and local elective positions including those for governor, mayor and city or provincial legislative councils.

The measure then mandates the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to draft the law’s implementing rules and regulations, including the formula on how the State Subsidy Fund will be proportionately disbursed, which was also opposed by Arroyo.

“But the job of the Comelec is to administer the elections, hindi ang gastusin.
How do you divide that,” Arroyo said.

He added that it will take all the Comelec’s time to attend to complains on funding by all parties in the different level of the political arena, from the provinces, to cities, municipalities down to barangays.

“Baka hindi na magkanda-ugaga ang Comelec   sa mga complains sa distribution. We have 80 provinces; i think we have 100 cities, sa municipalities siguro mahigit 1,000. You can’t imagine that every provinces, every city, every municipality, mag-aawayan sa pera.,” he explained.

Also, Arroyo feared that Constitutional questions will be raised during deliberations since the bill will not only eats up ample portion of the national budget, but will also disregard other sectors for the needed funds.

“Kung makakalusot, there are constitutional questions to be raised, I would not say mayroon, pero may magkukuwestiyon dyan. It can only be utilized or pass by the next Congress., in 2016, not in 2013,” he said.

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