The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has postponed printing of ballots for the second time to give the Supreme Court (SC) enough time to decide on disqualification cases filed against Sen. Grace Poe.
The printing of the ballots was reset to February 8.
It was scheduled earlier by the Comelec for February 1.
The printing of the ballots should have started on Tuesday, January 26.
The poll body also earlier said it will include the names of Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the official list of presidential candidates in the May 2016 elections even if the tribunal is yet to issue a decision on the cases questioning the senator’s candidacy.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said they are yet to complete the list of candidates.
“Today, oral arguments are being conducted by the SC. There is a call to postpone the printing of the ballots,” he added.
Commissioner Christian Lim expressed sadness with the postponement.
“It’s heavy. I feel bad, I don’t want to move the date of printing,” he said.
“We will finalize the list of candidates by February 3. We understand that there [are]ongoing oral argument[s], and we hope that the Supreme Court can close the oral arguments today,” Lim added.
The Comelec will be printing 57 million ballots until April 25, just two weeks before the May 9 elections.
After the printing, the poll body will verify the ballots to weed out damaged copies.
The ballots will then be transported to various precincts in all provinces.
Also on Tuesday, the Comelec started the so-called Final Trusted Build of the Election Management System (EMS) Software wherein the source code is converted to machine-readable binary instructions (executable code).
Lito Aviera, a volunteer from the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), said the process is part of transparency measures to ensure credible election results.
On hand to certify the procedure was SLI Global Solutions, the local counterpart of Smartmatic TIM, the provider of the vote counting machines or VCMs to be used in the polls.