A Law to Strengthen Political Parties

Manila Bulletin, November 6, 2009 | Go to article overview

A Law to Strengthen Political Parties


Political parties have been with us since 1907 with the founding of the Nacionalista Party which used the party as its vehicle for independence. From then on, at least three groups emerged and formed the opposition known as Democratas. What won in the first national election of 1935 was a however not a party but a coalition of Pros and Antis. We had only one Party government for a century according to Manuel Quezon III and Julio Teehankee who assessed the development of party politics in the country. Both the Liberal Party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition were breakaways from the Partido Nacionalista. Our political party system can therefore be described as one of “coalition, ad-hoc coalition, factionalism, and multi-factionalism.”But we recognize, as Teehankee noted, that the development of a mature and responsible party system is an important ingredient for political development.” Here, and in other democracies, parties are expected to set political agendas, nominate candidates for office, monitor the work of elected candidates, solidify the party identity and develop party discipline. They play an important role in determining leadership of legislative institutions.SB 67, or Political Party Development Act, authored by Senator Edgardo Angara, is designed “to strengthen the party system into a medium for “political development and democratization.” A timely initiative, considering recent events that reinforce belief that parties “simply feed political motives” and therefore have become meaningless. Is this why Senator Chiz Escudero declared, after leaving his party of 12 years, that he did not have much use for political parties - that if he runs for president, he would be representing the people, or words to that effect? But is it true that after saying this, he is considering to run as VP of another political party?Our political parties may not have the same standing like that in the more stable societies like the United States or European countries where party ideologies guide every aspect of governance. …

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