The proclamation of 29 new party-list representatives, probably with three more later, basically reinforces the same set-up in the House of Representatives. Most of the new ones will be part of or are part of the traditional political leadership in the country, albeit with some sectoral facades.
It is not expected to produce reform legislation, much less the radical reforms contemplated to address the grave crises of the nation. If at all, the increase will make it harder to undertake reform legislation because of the greater number of conservative legislators who need to be convinced of it.
What is new in Congress is the presence of new political forces to include those from the far Right and from the far Left. It is interesting to note the dynamics that will ensue. As early as the first day of the Supreme Court announcement of its decision on the inclusion of 32 new party-list representatives, retired general Jovito Palparan became the target of both human rights advocates and Left condemnation.
Many pending legislations will be affected: charter change, land reform extension, human rights, party-list amendments, and others that are politically cotroversial. Of course, most of these will be overrun by the looming 2010 elections.
The latter–in itself–will be affected greatly, particularly the party-list elections. It is expected that the number of voters in the party-list system will increase significantly, fueled by the possibilities opened by the Supreme Court decision. With no threshold to speak of, a huge number of applicants, in addition to the current long list of registered party-list groups, will try to enter these elections. It is particularly tempting to those who have considerable organized political base. However, this should be tempered by the expected stricter Comelec registration process.
What the whole thing amounts to is that, failing the passage of necessary reform amendments to the 15-year old party-list law, the 2010 party-list elections will be a circus of traditional politics, interspersed with weaker ideological politics and some religious ones.