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Partylist group slams poll automation plan

Posted on: March 26, 2009

Partylist group slams poll automation plan
Stages rally at Comelec main office

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:17:00 03/26/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Technology (general)

MANILA, Philippines—Members of the partylist Bayan Muna staged a rally at the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) main office in Intramuros, Manila Thursday to denounce the poll body’s plan to spend P11.3 billion to automate elections in 2010.

“It is a recipe of large-scale automated cheating,” said Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casino, in a statement given to media here.

Casino stressed that Bayan Muna was for automated elections but not “automated cheating.”

Bayan Muna was among those that voted for the approval of a bill proposing P11.3 billion supplemental budget for the poll automation at the House of Representatives. On March 23, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed this bill into a law.

However, Casino said that the group had reservations about the technology that would be used, referring to the precinct counting optical scan (PCOS) machines deployed in precincts nationwide.

Bayan Muna was pushing for an open election system, which was the same technology recommended by former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod along with some technology experts from the Transparentelections.org.

Casino said the P11.3-billion budget for automation elections in 2010 is “too steep a price for a system.”

He also said if the poll body was planning to automate elections, it should start with the canvassing process, and not the counting at the precincts.

Citing a study done by the Center for People Empowerment and Governance, Bayan Muna said the PCOS machines had inherent weaknesses, which were revealed during the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 2008.

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