Which is worse? An unregistered party-list group being given a certificate of proclamation or a legislator suggesting that the 2022 elections be postponed?

None is worse because both are the worst. They are as incomprehensible as they are reprehensible. They are as illogical as they are unconstitutional.

While it has earned enough votes for a seat in the House of Representatives, Duterte Youth has a questionable advocacy and track record. It may not even be appropriate to call it a “party-list group” as it is not registered as one with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). It continues to be hounded by accusations of using government funds during the campaign period last year.

Lest we forget, former National Youth Commission Chair Ronald Cardema tried and failed to insert himself as the first nominee even if he is clearly unqualified to be a youth representative in terms of age and track record. Having his wife Ducielle take his place only shows how the party-list system has been hijacked to suit the whims of those in power.

If Duterte Youth is the manifestation of what is wrong with the party-list system, the suggestion of Rep. Mikey Arroyo to postpone the 2022 elections is a manifestation of what is wrong with the political system.

It is convenient for the likes of Arroyo to float ideas that would best serve their interests. The powers that be apparently want perpetuation of power to be the “new normal,” along with creeping authoritarianism and outright circumvention of the law, including the 1987 Constitution.

If the COMELEC does not rescind its proclamation of Duterte Youth, then we shall seek other legal remedies, including the Supreme Court if necessary. If the powers that be insist on postponing the 2022 elections, then we shall once again assert our people’s right to suffrage.

Instead of political accommodation and postponement, the government and the COMELEC should focus on reforms toward clean and honest elections.

For verification, please contact Danilo Arao (convenor, Kontra Daya).

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