Malacañang declared that there is no turning back on the full automation of the 2010 elections, as President Gloria Arroyo waits for the P11.3-billion supplemental budget for poll automation law to reach her desk.
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said that after the congressional approval, the next step would be to ensure that the procurement of the election automation machines in a manner that is transparent to the public.
In an interview Sunday over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Remonde stressed that the “transparency of government procurement is really one of our principles, one of our programs. So therefore, any move to ensure that there will be transparency in the procurement, especially of . . . the machines for poll automation and that’s what the Palace wants.”
Remonde pointed out that “insofar as the details are concerned, such as whether the procurement process should be televised or whatever, let us leave that to the implementing arm, the Commission on Elections [Comelec].”
“But as far as the principle of transparency is concerned, that’s the right thing to do,” he added.
Comelec Chairman Jose Melo said on Saturday that he was in favor of full coverage of the bidding for the voting and counting machines for the 2010 polls.
Asked what measures the Arroyo administration is taking to ensure clean and credible elections, Remonde said that’s the reason why the President Arroyo is pushing for poll automation. “That is precisely one of the most important concerns of the President.”
“When the 2010 election becomes fully automated, we will able to minimize irregularities so honest, orderly and peaceful election is ensured,” he added.
Central to democracy
Remonde also asked the public to support poll automaton, saying that having a modern automated poll “is central to our democracy.”
A fully automated elections will also end once and for all, the Philippine phenomenon where “after the elections, there are only two candidates—the winner and the [others who claim they were] cheated.”
Earlier Saturday, Remonde called on the administration’s allies in Congress “to respect and consider the President’s position that we want full automation of the 2010 elections.”
He issued the appeal after some pro-administration lawmakers proposed a “hybrid” type of elections using both manual and automated processes even after both the Senate and the Houses of Representatives have passed the P11.3-billion supplemental budget for the automation of the national elections next year.
The Palace had earlier announced that the President would sign the supplemental budget for the poll automation, once the bill is submitted to Malacañang.
— Angelo S. Samonte, Manila Times