THE 2016 elections are crucial for the country considering the gains that have been acquired in governance and in the economy in the past years. If we want to end the boom-and-bust cycle of Philippine governance, choosing leaders that are fit for the job is important.

But that requires many things. Having informed voters is one. Allowing the most qualified persons to run for a government post is another. Then you have the need to hold clean and honest elections.

For now, let us focus on the latter. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is studying ways to administer the elections next year. Yet it should have been simple considering Republic Act 9369 or the automated Election Law, which mandates the automation of the voting, counting, transmission and canvassing of votes.

However, because of criticisms by some sectors of the use of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in the 2010 and 2013 elections and the recent Supreme Court decision voiding the contract Comelec went into for the refurbishment of the said machines, the proposal to have a hybrid election system has gained traction.

The so-called “hybrid election system” is essentially manual elections with a twist: the transmission of the results will be automated. But there are problems there. One is the mandate of RA 9369, which is for the automation of the elections. The other is that it involves more human intervention, making cheating easier to commit.

Besides, reverting to an essentially manual election would be a setback in the effort to modernize the country’s electoral setup.

Proponents of full automation and the hybrid setup have good arguments propping up their lobby. In this sense, Comelec needs to weigh the arguments thoroughly and tread on the issue carefully. But it would help if every step of the way, the people are informed of the developments and the public is encouraged to provide inputs.

This could help lighten Comelec’s load and ensure that every decision the poll body would make are enlightened ones.