Bam Aquino: Return to a poll system where people can count their votes
Outgoing Sen. Bam Aquino failed to secure a seat for the 18th Congress as he came in the 14th spot in the 2019 midterm elections.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, file

Bam Aquino: Return to a poll system where people can count their votes

( - June 10, 2019 - 11:14am

MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV said Monday that Philippine elections should return to a system where the people could monitor and count their votes.

In an interview with ANC’s Headstart, Aquino said that with the automated elections, after the ballot has been fed to the machine, the voter could not see how it would be counted.

“Whether it is simply adding another step, which is after transmission, all the ballots would be pulled out, and, like before, the watchers would monitor and count the votes to verify the actual result that’s transmitted by the machine,” Aquino said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He also said that the elections could adopt a “hybrid” system, “where people vote on their own and the transmission and tabulation [are] automatic.”

“Whatever the case, we need to go back to a system where people can monitor and count their votes,” he added.

Technical glitches and malfunctioning machines marred the 2019 midterm elections. The Commission on Elections admitted that the number of vote counting machines that bogged down tripled in the May 13 polls, compared to the 2016 national elections.

The Comelec said some 1,015 VCMs broke down, comprising 1.32% of the 82,000 VCMs. There was also a seven-hour delay in the electronic transmission of votes to transparency servers.

READ: Duterte to Comelec: End deal with Smartmatic

The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System, however, said it found no evidence of fraud and manipulation in the May 13 elections. The panel also advised Comelec officials to counsel Duterte on his order for them to find a replacement for Smartmatic as it was the poll body that conducted the elections.

READ: Probers see no proof of fraud in May polls

Bam to continue advocacy for small business, youth

Aquino sought re-election for the 18th Congress, but he failed to secure a spot in the Magic 12. He placed 14th with 14,144,923 votes, behind fellow re-electionist Sen. JV Ejercito.

In his farewell speech on June 4, Aquino thanked the “productive people” he worked with in the Senate, the House of Representatives, executive branch of the government, media and organizations from various sectors.

He recalled that he found mentors and friends who supported him “even in the most challenging and intimidating times.”

“Within these halls, I’ve come across fierce allies in the fight against poverty,” Aquino said.

READ: ‘Senate camaraderie at its best': Binay offers teaching post to Trillanes; outgoing senators sign off

“In the past six years, I’ve had the honor of working with a reliable, passionate and positive staff who have become my family. Thank you, Team Bam. I am truly grateful for this opportunity to have served alongside all of you,” he added. 

In the same TV interview, Aquino said that after his term at Congress expires, he would continue to push for his advocacy for small businesses, the youth and education.

He said he would also see how the policy he pushed for in the Senate would be implemented on the ground.

Aquino is the principal sponsor of Republic Act 10931 also known as the Free College Act. — Kristine Joy Patag

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