Comelec to decide on voting technology next week

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will decide on which voting system to use for the May 2016 synchronized elections on Tuesday.

“We have to decide by next week and in making a decision, we have to consider three aspects – timeline, technical risks and costs,” Commissioner Luie Guia said in an interview.

The poll body is also aiming to reduce the ratio of voters per machine in the polling precincts, as Chairman Andres Bautista said the ideal ratio should only be 600 to 800, down from the previous years’ 1,000 voters per machine.

The only thing that needs to be resolved, Bautista added, is whether the augmentation will come from the refurbished 81,897 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines or the leased 70,977 brand-new optical mark reader machines. Whichever is chosen, it will be supplemented by the 23,000 OMR units leased from Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp.

Guia added that the Comelec consulted the multi-sector Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) and the Joint Congressional Overseas Committee on poll automation after the second bidding for the P3.13-billion contract to refurbish the PCOS machines failed on Aug. 1.

The CAC recommended that a portion of refurbished PCOS machines and part of the OMR units be used.

“Our primordial (concern), of course, is the use of our present resources and these present resources include the PCOS machines that are in our warehouse,” he maintained.   

Presidential debates

Leaders of the House of Representatives welcomed yesterday the Comelec proposal to hold presidential debates in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the independent bloc, cited the importance of presidential debates to promote positive campaigning instead of mudslinging.

“Let us promote voter education about the platform of government that candidates may offer to the people and put an end to mudslinging. This will help the electorate discern who to vote for and will also expose candidates on their positions about pressing issues that may affect the country,” Romualdez said.

He added that the debates would provide a mechanism for exacting accountability in the candidates’ campaign promises.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez said debates would encourage candidates to focus on substantive issues and public policies, and would help strengthen the country’s democracy where voters have an informed choice.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, vice chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, said presidential debates would allow candidates to present themselves before the voting population.

Barzaga belongs to the National Unity Party (NUP), composed mostly of lawmakers and local officials formerly belonging to Lakas, the ruling party during the Arroyo administration. He has committed his support to administration presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II, although the party has not made a collective decision yet.

He said he has no doubt that Roxas would fare well in the planned presidential debates, adding that he might be able to convince many of his partymates to support Roxas as well.

Barzaga suggested that Roxas and President Aquino move quickly to consolidate political forces belonging to the multi-party administration coalition like NUP, Nacionalista Party (NP) and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

He said Aquino and Roxas should meet with political stalwarts former senator Manuel Villar Jr. and businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.

As for the NPC, acting party president and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said they have not made a formal decision but that many of his partymates were inclined to support Sen. Grace Poe as presidential candidate.

Poe has not declared her presidential bid, but Aggabao said she has already set her mind on the presidency and an announcement from her is a question of “when, not if.” – With Paolo  Romero, Jess Diaz

vuukle comment












  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with