TALISAY CITY -- Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said on Wednesday it's all systems go for the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or Youth Council elections in May 14.
Guanzon was in the province Wednesday, March 7, for the Know Elections Better Seminar at Carlos Hilado Memorial State College in this city.
While some lawmakers are pushing for another postponement, Guanzon said they don’t want it to affect their readiness in the conduct of the elections.
“It will be difficult for Comelec to anticipate that the elections will be postponed. Our direction now is to get ready for the elections and we readied all the election materials,” she said.
She said the poll body is conducting voters’ education seminars for new voters and SK voters nationwide. “We have conducted seminars for women who are potential candidates in the barangay and SK elections.”
The Comelec en banc has already created the project management office. “We are preparing and we would like to think that we are fully prepared for May 14,” she said.
She said it is up to Congress to decide. But personally, she does not want the election will be postponed again.
“The preparations of the people involved is becoming unstable and uncertain because of that move to postpone it,” she added.
Since there is no plebiscite yet because the potential charter change is not certain yet, it should be held in time of the May 2019 elections, which is more efficient in terms of time table.
“The Comelec does not have a budget for this plebiscite so if they will decide to postpone it then Congress will have to appropriate budget for the Comelec purposely for the plebiscite,” she said.
Guanzon led the seminar on the electoral process yesterday which was attended by some 300 college students.
"We want to make sure that Comelec takes the lead in making our citizens aware of their right to vote, how to vote properly and how to ensure that there will be no fraud in the elections and the elections will be fair, honest and credible,” she said.
They want the young people, who comprised about 60 percent of the voting population, to come out and vote. “These sector are idealistic and we are hoping that less of them can be bought during the election period. Their sense of patriotism is high because they want to be free. Election is one way of ensuring that it will work for them,” she said.
On the alleged irregularities in the 2016 polls claimed by Senator Vicente Sotto III, Guanzon said they want to know where it came from because the server will know if it has received transmission a day before the election, which is impossible because the server is always close.
“The server will be opened if generally, the voters have finished voting,” she pointed out, adding a Comelec officer is assigned to open the server for transmission.
They said that the transmission can be intercepted because it can be changed, but Guazon stressed “it is very hard to do.”
“If the machine transmits, the machine will be opened in less than a minute or six seconds, (then) it will close. It is not open the whole time,” she explained.
"They might be using a very expensive and intelligent computer to do it. It is very expensive to commit fraud this way. Those who can prove it can be the happiest persons in the world if they have evidence that this was done and this can be done this way because we are always looking for means to improve our system. If they can prove it to be fraudulent, we can always change it as we are accountable to the people and to Congress, she said.
Further, she warned Comelec officers who will be caught engaging in fraudulent acts, “they will have no worry to penalize them. We does not have a love-loss relationship with those erring Comelec employees.”
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on March 08, 2018.
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