Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping” Lacson proposed the return of the two-party system as the solution to the country’s election woes.
Lacson running-mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III added that Senate may begin tackling bills that intend to prohibit substitution for electoral aspirants who voluntarily withdraw their candidacy.
However, Sotto noted that the discussions may only be after the Senate has finished its deliberations on the proposed national budget for 2022.
“We might be able to amend, I don’t know, not anymore for this particular election, because it’s too late. But perhaps the new Congress would be able to tackle that, or we might even be able to do that after we tackle the budget,” related Sotto.
He said there are two or three bills filed to ban substitution political candidates.
The filing of COCs for the 2022 elections was set last October 1 to 8.
However, several political candidates opted for last-minute filing of their candidacy through substitution which deadline was scheduled by Comelec on November 15.
Sotto stressed that politicians who want to run in the elections should file their COCs within the normal timeframe.
Lacson further said a two-party system will prevent “bastardizing” party affiliations. “There must be an overarching solution to that, and it is a strong two-party system,” Lacson said.
The veteran lawmaker also stressed that politicians needed to continue educating the people to banish “entertainment politics” and the culture of mendicancy that sprouts during election season, especially with the 2022 national elections just six months away.
“TikTok cannot solve the country’s problems so we are presenting our ‘KKK’ – kakayahan, katapatan, katapangan (ability, hoesty, bravery)– during our campaign,” he said.
Lacson said Partido Reporma seeks to change the electoral system to give Filipinos a government that will truly respond to their needs, and not just give them handouts expected from politicians in every election season “that actually comes from their own taxes.”
He clarified that Partido Reporma has three official candidates for senator – former national police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, former congressman Monsour del Rosario, and Dr. Minguita Padilla – but also supports candidates under the Nationalist People’s Coalition, which is led by his running mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
Apart from NPC, Partido Reporma is also allied with the National Unity Party of former Interior Secretary Ronaldo D. Puno.
Lacson himself stressed that he was a guest candidate of two political parties in the 2016 elections but said the “adoption” system and the practice of fielding common candidates will not end until the country’s party system is reformed.
Under the NPC’s lineup are Lacson and Sotto’s current colleague in the Senate, Sherwin Gatchalian, as well as former senators Chiz Escudero and Loren Legarda, former Cabinet member Manny Pinol, and former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista.
Also supported by Partido Reporma for the Senate are former Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Joel Villanueva and broadcast journalist Raffy Tulfo, who are running as independent candidates.
For now, Lacson said parties relied on gentlemen’s agreements among their common candidates, who should only present their political platforms on stage and not declare their picks for president or vice president when on an opposing candidate’s campaign sortie.
Common candidates, the Partido Reporma chairman said, in fact have the“good fortune” over one-party bets, as they get their names printed on sample ballots of two or more parties, which help inform voters when they go to the polls.
The Philippines last had a two-party system in the 1960s, when politicians were either with the Nacionalista Party or Liberal Party.
But scholars have said the restriction of the President to one six-year term without reelection after the 1987 Constitution has prevented the two-party system from reemerging.