Automation allows bets to concede early: Comelec

by Danny Buenafe, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Mar 16 2010 10:43 AM | Updated as of Mar 16 2010 06:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections said the automation of the May 10 elections could lead to the faster proclamation of the winning candidates, which will positively contribute to the country's political stability.

In a Comelec presentation in Madrid, Comelec Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer said he expects losing candidates to concede if the lead of their rivals is insurmountable.

He cited the case of Republican nominee John McCain who conceded defeat to Democratic nominee Barack Obama in last year's US presidential election.

Ferrer said he is dismayed at how some politicians would blame the Comelec when they lose the elections.

He said he hopes the next set of leaders will be role models of self-discipline so the country can move forward.

The Comelec official said that while too much democratic space is being abused, he does not advocate a dictator-type of leader or authoritarian to take over as the next president of the Philippines.

Ferrer said the absentee vote could be a big factor in the May 10 polls especially if the presidential race is too close to call. He said overseas absentee voters could also determine who will win the last few slots in the senatorial election.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it will adopt safeguards to ensure an honest and orderly postal voting and manual counting in all its diplomatic posts except for Hong Kong and Singapore, which will also go automated.

More than half a million overseas Filipinos are expected to take part in this year's political exercise.