Comelec chief: Elections on May 9 'risky'

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista on Monday said pushing through with the national and local elections on May 9 will be risky, following the Supreme Court decision ordering the poll body to print voter's receipts.

Speaking to ANC's "Talkback with Tina Monzon Palma," Bautista said the poll body's biggest problem right now is time, because they still have to reconfigure the vote counting machines (VCMs) to issue receipts.

"As I have said, we have no issue issuing a receipt if we had enough time," he said.

He also fears that there will be more problems because the poll body aims to finish everything before the May 9 elections.

"'Di ba alam naman natin pagka nagmamadali, nag-aapura, diyan nagkakaproblema. And remember, this is not the only thing we're doing. We have issues about our ballot printing, about our deployment, about our logistics, all sorts of things. Voter education is a big thing that we have to do," Bautista said.

For Bautista, the Comelec's main purpose is to ensure the credibility of elections, and complaints regarding VCMs and how to use them can make people doubt the credibility of the elections.

"Credibility is the key. We're not just trying to have elections, we want to have credible elections. So we're trying to figure out ways. We want credible elections, and if we can't do proper elections in 56 days," he said.

"There's no standard in respect of what credible elections are. I think credible elections would be a function of how the voters will perceive how the elections are being conducted," Bautista added.

Bautista assured the public that the Comelec will comply with the law. He, however, said that pushing through with the elections on May 9 will entail a lot of risks.

"Will we be able to have elections on May 9? If we really forced it, probably we can. But then again we are taking a lot of risks. That I think is something that the Filipino people should decide collectively," he said
"We will comply in the end. Of course we have to comply, we just have to tell people what are the risks. I think that is our responsibility as well, because as I've said, our primary mandate is not just to have elections. Our primary mandate is to have credible elections," he added.

Bautista earlier said the Comelec is looking into the postponement of the elections due to the Supreme Court decision.

"No-El (no elections) hindi. Po-El, postponement. Iyun ang aming pinag-aaralan, siguro a few weeks lang," Bautista told reporters.

"Again alam naman namin na kumbaga ang termino ng liderato ay magtatapos ng June 30 kaya't napakahalaga na ma-proclaim na yung nanalo before June 30 para magkaroon ng orderly transitions."

Comelec: 'Po-el', manual polls on the table