As the nation prepares for the upcoming elections in May, reelectionist Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III reiterated the need to strengthen the country’s political party system.
“Political parties must be stable if they are to survive and to serve the greater good of our democracy. They must be allowed to spread their influence through the efforts, toils and achievements of their members collectively,” Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1984 or the Political Party System Act, said.
“The passage of this bill will encourage our citizens to join a political party because he can now select a party which fits his political beliefs and inclination.” Pimentel added.
According to Pimentel, the measure aims to institute reforms in campaign financing to promote accountability and transparency, as well as reduce opportunities for graft and corruption.
“It is incumbent upon us to craft the needed legislation to enhance it in our country. This can only be done if we provide the legal framework where reforms could be instituted on election campaign financing to promote party accountability and transparency and at the same time reduce the opportunities for graft and corruption,” Pimentel said.
The bill also seeks to foster the development of strong political parties through financial subsidies for party development and campaign expenditures.
The availability of this fund to deserving political parties, Pimentel said, seeks to uphold professionalism and accountability among its members by promoting party loyalty, discipline, and adherence to ideological principles, platforms, and programs, as well as encouraging and supporting voter’s education.
The bill also institutes measures to professionalize political parties and make them viable instruments of development and good governance. As such, the bill also disallows political turncoatism, wherein candidates change political party affiliations one year before, or one year after elections.
Under the measure, political turncoats shall be prohibited from being appointed or from holding any position in any public or government office for three years after the expiration of their current term or office; prohibited from assuming any executive or administrative position in the new political party; and directed to refund any and all amounts received from the previous political party, plus a fifty percent surcharge.
“Our proposed bill denounces and punishes political turncoatism. Any member of a national political party who changes party affiliation after being nominated by the party shall be deemed to have committed political turncoatism,” Pimentel said.
“It is high time that we made our political parties true repositories of venerable party principles and viable party advocacies. The strengthening of our political party system, in so many ways as found in this proposed bill, will ensure that our democratic system of government will continue to be vibrant and steady amid the challenges of the coming times,” Pimentel also said. (Source: senate.gov.ph)