Poll automation in the 2010 May national elections is non-negotiable, the Commission on Elections stressed on Tuesday.
In a forum, Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento said despite the criticism on the Precinct Count Optical Scan or PCOS, the technology to be used in the poll automation, it is full steam ahead for the country’s first ever modernized election process.
“The PCOS system might not be the most superior system but we have to follow the law under RA. 9369,” Sarmiento said.
Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms and a member of the Comelec advisory council for automation, said the manual system of election is no longer credible.
The proposed automated elections could bring out a speedy, accurate, and secure poll process. The new system also eliminates human intervention that could deter faulty and fraudulent data, Casiple said.
The government has set aside P11. 3 billion for the automation, making the May 2010 exercise the most expensive ever.
The Comelec will lease 80,000 counting machines to be deployed nationwide. About 10 companies have expressed intention to participate in the bidding for the machines.
In the 2004 national race, the country came close in automating the elections but the Supreme Court ruled that the bidding and awarding of the contract to Megapacific was null and void.
Around 1,995 counting machines are now stockpiled in a warehouse in Manila, purchased at the amount of P1.2 billion.
This time, the Comelec is making sure that no irregularities will attend the bidding and awarding of the contract. (Sammie Sauler, Newsbreak intern).