Comelec urged to prepare contingency plan for 2016 polls

A LAWMAKER urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday to prepare a contingency plan for the 2016 presidential polls now that its preparations face legal problem before the Supreme Court (SC).

Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano III presented two options: return to manual voting or adopt the manual-computerized system.

“The simplest option for the Comelec is to prepare for manual elections which would even cost less than the controversial Smartmatic-TIM contract,” he said.

He added there is no law barring Comelec from implementing the manual system.

Albano also proposed the Transparent and Credible Election System or TCrES introduced by former Comelec commissioner Gus Lagman, wherein individuals vote manually but the result is transmitted electronically.

The lawmaker said there is enough time for the Comelec to consider a hybrid system that will combine manual processes (voting and canvassing of votes) and the computerized or automated transmission of election results.

Election watchdog groups had earlier endorsed the combined manual-computerized election system to the poll body.

Meanwhile, Albano rejected the “no election” scenario peddled by some sectors as the Comelec is required to hold the 2016 polls as mandated by the Constitution.

“The no election scenario peddled by certain sectors, including some so-called election experts was alarmist hogwash whose only basis was the possible failure in implementing the election automation law” he said.

Albano said the “no election” scenario cropped up because the Comelec’s P269-million contract with Smartmatic-TIM to refurbish 81,000 vote counting machines was stymied by a temporary restraining order issued by the SC last month.

But Albano said failure to implement the automation law as basis for the “No-El” scenario is faulty and has no legal basis. (Sunnex)

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