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SOLON SAYS ‘Let Comelec pick poll automation tech’

Posted on: March 2, 2009

Original post

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 21:12:00 02/27/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Elections, State Budget & Taxes

MANILA, Philippines—Representative Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Friday he would file a bill asking the House of Representatives to refrain from imposing the “technology of choice” for the country’s fully automated polls.

“The House need not file a legislation on how the Comelec will implement poll automation,” said Locsin, chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms.

The House on Wednesday night approved on second reading the Commission on Elections P11.3 billion budget to automate the election but with the condition that it be accompanied by special mesure to ensure the May 2010 polls are orderly, clean and free.

But Locsin said there was no need for an amendatory law, saying, “The legislative body must not hint or legislate a technology of choice.”

On Thursday, several lawmakers met and agreed it’s within the Comelec’s mandate to determine the type of technology for automated polls because “they will be the one to implement the project.”

Comelec chairman Jose Melo and Commissioner Rene Sarmiento welcomed this development.

“This is good news and a very much welcome development,” said Sarmiento.

Melo said the poll body was hopeful the supplemental budget for poll automation would be released on time. If not, Comelec would consider other available options to ensure an orderly conduct of the 2010 general elections, he said.

Sarmiento said a delay in the passage of the budget bill would affect the pre-election activities set by the Comelec, including voters’ education.

“Voters will be deprived of this education campaign because the machine procurement is late and consequent activities such as voters’ education get delayed,” he said.


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