FEAR is a greater danger to poll automation than anything else.

This was the response of Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman James Jimenez on the statements of naysayers on the first poll automations in the country.

He was particularly peeved by the failing mark a “watchdog” gave the Comelec on its preparedness for the 2010 polls.

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The Automation Elections Watch (AES Watch) gave the Comelec a “danger” rating in its system trustworthiness, accountability and readiness criteria.

This further fueled talks on failure of elections.

“Comelec should make sure that there will be an election. If automation cannot be used, then the agency has two months to revert to manual elections,” said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who was in Cebu last Friday.

Enrile is certain that elections would take place but had doubts whether the country is ready for automation.

“We must have an election because we already have a fractured society,” he said.

Comelec officials have repeatedly assured that automation is a go.

“Despite the fears articulated by AES Watch, the May 10, 2010 national and local elections will be automated,” Jimenez said in a press statement.

He doubted the “score” AES Watch gave, especially that he was not briefed how it was reached.

“The evaluation might turn out to be very misleading,” he said.

He said that instead of criticizing the Comelec, groups concerned with the elections should act as its partners.

“We are steadily moving towards an automated electoral exercise in May 2010, and the best way to solve problems now is to work with Comelec as implementor,” he said.

“This is a better approach than to stir up public apprehension when we could be working together for the betterment of the electoral system,” he added.

Enrile had painted a grim picture he was sure would happen if automation fails.

“There will be a civil war and the winner is that who will be backed by the military and the police,” he said.