CBCP sees problems in party-list increase

Published by rudy Date posted on April 26, 2009

THE Supreme Court (SC) decision to allow more party-list congressmen to take office might cause more problems than gains, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said on Saturday.

It will for sure cause more expenses, as taxpayers’ money would have to be allocated for the needs of these representatives.

“The additional congressmen will mean increases in the expense of our country because they will have to be given salaries, allowances and even increase in pork barrel,” he said.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Prospero Nograles said that over P2.5 billion in fund is needed by the Lower House to accommodate the party-list representatives. The fund, he said, would cover for the congressmen’s and their staff’s salaries, electric, water and telephone bills and the pork barrel.

Nograles also said that the Batasan Complex can no longer accommodate additional offices for the new representatives as the new wing inside the compound is set to finish next year.

This year alone, Congress received P9.665 billion—P2 billion more than in 2008—for the Priority Development Assistance Fund, or the pork barrel fund, out of the P1.425-trillion national budget.

“The huge obligation burdens the public really,” the prelate said. “I hope that they [SC] have thought it carefully.”

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday proclaimed additional party-list representatives who breached the 2-4-6 formula used for the “recomputation” of the number of seats allocated for each party-list group who won in the 2007 midterm elections.

Before the High Court ruled in favor of the 2-4-6 formula, the poll body followed the Panganiban formula that allows the top two vote-getter to occupy three congressional seats while the rest of the party-list groups could not be awarded more than two seats.

The 2-4-6 formula entitles party-list groups who got 2 percent of the total votes, one seat; 4 percent, two seats; and 6 percent, three seats.

From 22 sectoral members, the recent SC ruling has now raised to 51 the total number of party-list representatives.–Bernice Camille Bauzon, Reporter, Manila Time

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