TRUST the Filipinos, not just the ordinary citizens but also the politicians, to

be very creative.

When American troops left the Philippines at the end of World War II, Pinoys stripped down the surplus jeeps the departing foreign force left behind to accommodate more passengers, added metal roofs and decorated them with vibrant colors---and the jeepney was born.

The creativity extended to all aspects of Philippine society, including the country’s elections.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Politicians eventually discovered varied ways to get around election rules to gain advantage. Remember “dagdag-bawas” when votes were canvassed manually (translation:


Now the target is the party-list system.

Mikey’s case

If the spirit of the constitutional provision propping up the party-list setup and Republic Act 7941 (the Party-list System Act) is followed, Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo would never have become a member of the House as party-list representative.

The millionaire son of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the first nominee of the party-list group Ang Galing Pinoy, which supposedly represents security guards, taxi and bus drivers, small scale businessmen, etc.

Spotting the anomaly there is a no-brainer.

But trust “trapos” (traditional politicians) to find ways to manipulate the party-list system using the loopholes in the law to gain an advantage.

Of course, it may have helped that Mikey’s case was handled by a Commission on Elections whose members are appointees of his mother---which could make his situation unique.


Still, this is not the first time that trapos attempted to manipulate the party-list setup and enter Congress via the backdoor. Former governor Lito Osmeña’s Promdi did that before but failed.

In the process of trying to gain political advantage, these “manipulators” ended up destroying a setup that the framers of the Constitution hoped would raise the level of our politics from one hinged on money and patronage to one that is program and platform-based.

If only for that, the sin that they committed should be considered unpardonable.