By Arvee Christine R. Biscocho and Ian Gabriel Trinidad

Former Commission on Elections commissioner Luie Tito Guia (Photo grabbed from “Facts First with Christian Esguerra”  Youtube page).

The proposed electoral system of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) can strengthen the political party system of the Philippines should the government use it as a model in the future, a former Commission on Election (Comelec) commissioner said.

Former Comelec commissioner Luie Tito Guia explained in a “Facts First” podcast episode that the proportional representation system under the Bangsamoro Organic Law could root out “personality politics” in the Philippines by highlighting political parties’ advocacies.

“It’s like reengineering your electoral system design so that people and politicians gravitate towards a programmatic kind of politics to ensure electoral success,” Guia said. 

In the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the BARMM has a parliamentary form of government. In this political system, the people vote for members of parliament, which in turn are responsible for electing the Bangsamoro government.

Half of the parliament is reserved for political party representatives, and the number of seats per party will be determined through the proportional representation system, or through the party’s vote percentage in the election.

Guia said this poll system won’t waste votes, because even as little as 2 percent of total votes could grant a party a seat in the parliament.

The former elections official pointed out that the national system emphasizes famous candidates of a party rather than its advocacy.

Refining the Bangsamoro party system

Although the proportional representation system can strengthen the Bangsamoro parliament and the national party system, there are also downsides to using it, Guia said.

The system may allow a political party to dominate parliament, he said.

Guia said the Bangsamoro electoral code should have a clear set of qualifications for the basis of registration and accreditation of parties.

Guia said the Bangsamoro Transition Authority should prioritize the passage of the electoral code as soon as possible.