In a genuine party-list system, the electorate votes for parties or, more precisely, for the political, economic and cultural programs they distinctly stand for. In this system, voters do not vote for the personal qualities of individual candidates but for party philosophies and programs of government.

Thus, if a party wins the presidency, the candidate for president listed by that party becomes president. In Congress, if a party gets, say, two-thirds of total votes cast, it gets to fill two-thirds of all the contested seats with members in the party’s list of candidates.

The beauty of a party-list system is it gives all sectors proportionate representation in government. But for this to happen it is essential that all sectors are given a fair chance to form and operate a party. This is done with the government providing a budget for the formation and basic operation of parties after they get certified as public institutions by complying with strict legal requirements.

The most important of these is a precisely defined ideology or social philosophy that subsumes its socio-economic programs. With it goes a required education program of its members on party ideology and code of discipline (a third requirement). A fourth requirement is a minimum number of card-carrying bona fide members.

Last but not the least is the convention. To be listed as a party candidate for any position, a member must be voted as an official party candidate by fellow party members in a party convention.

Because of a strict certification program, no more than two or three parties are usually certified as public institutions. Thus, during elections you only have to count the votes of three parties. You don’t need a computer and you can count openly and in public. The ballots are also small and inexpensive. Most of it is occupied by a summary of the contending parties’ respective programs of government.

The rich still have the advantage of having more funds to add to the basic budget from the government. But in this system, the marginalized sector has at least some seed funds to build and operate a party. Unlike today when, left to their own devices, they are completely unable to do so.

Most important of all, this system’s required educational program helps to bring the marginalized sector towards political maturity and frees them of their dependence on the dictates of their economic and political patrons.

But make no mistake about it, this will not happen under the present system. Oligarchs, our exclusive rulers, subscribe to one and the same neo-liberal ideology that does not call for change but, on the contrary, for the maintenance of elitism in government.

The party-list system is an educational and truly representative system of electing government officials. If we must have it, and we should, we might as well have the real thing, not the mockery of a party-list system.