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THE 1987 Constitution, dubbed the Cory Constitution as President Corazon Aquino packed it with her handpicked people, has only allowed fake parties to waste taxpayers’ money as it enabled multi-millionaires, the religious sect El Shaddai, Communist Party cadres—five in the current Congress—to get seats in the House of Representatives.
I wrote in my column last Friday that more than half of the representatives udner the party-list system, created by the Constitution purportedly to give voice in the House to marginalized sectors, are multi-millionaires, led by the “Michael Romero, Ph.D.” (as his name appears in Congress) who claimed in his SALN a P7 billion net worth, and Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, property magnate Manuel Villar’s daughter-in-law, who reported a P1.4 billion net worth. (So far no party-list representative has communicated with me or this paper to refute the points I raised in that column.)
A third type of “party-list representatives” are those who represent no marginalized sector but merely a political clan controlling a territory. Such representatives very easily get the required number of votes—a mere 240,000 in the last elections—as they simply piggy-back on the electoral campaigns of their clans for regular seats in Congress or in the local government.
Such local bosses exploiting the party-list system aren’t just in far-away provinces. A good example of a territorial clan exploiting the party-list system is Quezon City 4th District representative Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., the city’s mayor for nine years and former President Aquino’s very loyal House Speaker during his entire term.
Wanting to continue his control of Quezon City politics, Belmonte got members of his immediate and extended family elected to positions in the local government and in Congress. His nephew, Jose Christopher Belmonte, was reelected in the last elections as the representative of the city’s 6th district. His daughter, Josefina (“Joy”), is vice mayor, and two nephews are councilors.
For his clan to get another seat in Congress, Belmonte got his nephew Ricardo (“RJ”) Belmonte to be party-list representative. Representing what? Continue reading