Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, Vol 13, No 2 (1997)

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The Non-Passage of the 1993 Proposed Election Code of the Philippines

Alberto C. Agra

Abstract


The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is a creature of laws. Entrusted with the sanctity of the ballot, it has been unable to ensure free, honest and peaceful elections and has admitted that it cannot effectively eliminate fraud and violence, a testament to the institutionalization of electoral crime. Even so, it cannot be pinned for blame, at least not solely, for the sorry state of elections. The COMELEC has sought to improve the manner in which elections are held and its most recent efforts brought forth the 1993 Proposed Election Code. However, electoral reforms which would address perennial problems were not forthcoming as the Proposed Code ran into an immovable object - the legislature - which was not inclined to overhaul a system that has served its lawmaking members well, and found no support from its so-called supporters, which included no less than President Fidel V. Ramos. Without the political will to legislate electoral laws the Philippines is condemned to endure future political exercises that are neither free nor honest nor peaceful.

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