CEBU CITY -- Presidential candidates Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and Nicanor Perlas agreed Sunday that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should do more to assure the public the automated elections will proceed smoothly.
“We want to know from the Comelec: What is the back-up plan? Not so much the cheating, but the (possibility of) failure. Hindi lang (Not just) power failure but the whole automation thing, which is brand-new,” said Teodoro.
He said the poll body should go out of its way to educate candidates and voters, including about a “plan B” in case the country’s first automated voting counting and transmission of election results fails.
Perlas said he and presidential aspirants JC delos Reyes, Senator Jamby Madrigal and Bro. Eddie Villanueva plan to issue a collective statement for the Comelec to address any anxiety about the new election procedures.
They plan to tap the other presidential candidates, and Perlas is confident they will gain the support of others except for Senator Richard Gordon, one of the authors of the law on poll automation.
Perlas, Teodoro and Senator Manuel Villar were in Cebu Sunday to attend an activity of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ-the Name Above All Names, held at the Cebu International Convention Center.
The group, headed by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, has a reported population of six million nationwide.
No campaigning was allowed but the presidential candidates were allowed to share a few greetings.
In previous interviews, Comelec officials have pointed out that the success of the equipment field tests and the mock elections, which included Cebu, bode well for the elections on May 10.
Some problems surfaced, like erratic signals in remote areas that could delay the electronic transmission of election results. But overall, voters who joined the mock election found the new ballots and procedures easy, and results were electronically sent to the office from various points in the country within two hours after “voting” ended.
Interviewed on the sidelines of Sunday’s event, Teodoro denied reports One Cebu is junking him in favor of Villar.
“I think I don’t see that, that’s chismis na naman. That’s like saying that Villar is the secret candidate of Gloria (President Arroyo). I’m not bothered by that,” the lawyer and former defense secretary told reporters.
Told about Villar’s meeting with Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal last Saturday, Teodoro said: “I’m not worried because I’m also close to the Cardinal and whoever visits him will be blessed because the Cardinal doesn’t intervene in politics.”
Teodoro reiterated some campaign promises for Cebu, like a third bridge that will link the mainland to Mactan Island, the construction of a parallel road to Escario St. in Cebu City and the widening of H. Cortes St. in Mandaue City.
Perlas, for his part, said Cebu does not need much help from him, as it is already “dynamic and exciting.”
However, Perlas said Cebu should enjoy the power and resources concentrated in Metro Manila.
He said he launched his campaign in Cebu early this month to drive home the point that not everything happens in the capital region.
“This is the place where Lapu-Lapu fought. He had the inner courage to fight for whatever is right,” said Perlas.
Quiboloy blessed all the candidates who joined his worship activity Sunday.
Also among the national candidates present were Senate aspirants Emilio “Lito” Osmeña, Jose de Venecia Jr., Rodolfo Plaza, Raul Lambino, Bebot Bello, and Senator Frank Drilon; and congressional candidate General Jovito Palparan, representing Anad Party-list.
Local candidates present included congressional candidates Luigi Quisumbing for the sixth district of Cebu and Dr. Cora Lou Kintanar of the third district; vice gubernatorial candidate Glenn Anthony Soco; Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna; and Medellin Vice Mayor Michael Miranda. (JGA of Sun.Star Cebu)