In recent years, it has become apparent that party-lists contending for congressional seats had nominees coming from political dynasties. Others are largely affiliated with big names in politics and business. There are also personalities that, at some point, got entangled with corruption cases and controversies. In other words, party-lists served as a political backdoors for the elite that the party-list system intended to offset in the first place.
Based on the initial study and data gathering done by Party-List Watch, 95 of the 177 party-lists vying for a congressional slot in the 2022 elections are new party-lists while 85 are old party-lists that have already participated in elections and/or won seats. Of the 177, PL Watch counts 45 party-lists that are helmed by politicians coming from political dynasties. At least 24 are identifiable with ex-politicians and government officials and at least 19 are associated with big business. There are also six new party-lists that are led by former appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte who do not have any previous party-list engagements.
Deriving from this picture, we can argue that the party-list system, originally placed in the constitution to ensure proportional representation and people’s empowerment, is being used by various sectors of the elite to further widen the power that they hold in Philippine politics. What prospers now in the party-list system is the phenomenon of pseudo-representation where members of political dynasties, business owners, former politicians and government officials who had no previous party-list engagement contend for legislature seats thereby depriving party-lists that represent legitimate sectors and interests from the seats that have been allotted for them.