Comelec prefers automated polls


THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) still prefers a fully automated election system even as it said it remains open to a hybrid system–part manual and part automated.

Comelec spokesman Director James Jimenez on Wednesday said an automated system is still the best option in terms of speed and credibility, among other advantages.

“It’s wrong to say that the issue here is only the time element or such benefits only. We are talking of cost in terms of time, human life, human effort and credibility,” Jimenez told The Manila Times at the sidelines of the opening of the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Workshop on Election Observation at the Peninsula Hotel Manila in Makati City (Metro Manila).

He pointed out that, ultimately, the choice is only between the automated and hybrid systems.

“The Comelec may opt for the hybrid system but not totally manual,” Jimenez said.

The poll body has opened for bidding the lease with option to purchase of a 23,000 brand-new Optical Mark Reader counting machines, a separate bidding for another 80,000 OMR machines and another bidding for upgrade and refurbishment of existing 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.

Technology provider Smartmatic Corp. has already demonstrated before the Comelec en banc the capability of its upgraded PCOS machines.

A simulation of the hybrid election system being proposed by former Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman has also been set for Jun 27 in Bacoor, Cavite.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista has said they would come up with a final decision on July after consultation with all election stakeholders.

According to Bautista, the cost of a hybrid election system, as provided by its proponents, hovers between P4 to P5 billion.

On the other hand, total cost for the 123,000 OMR counting machines is P12.897 billion.

Diagnostics, refurbishment and upgrade of the existing PCOS machines will cost P2.88 billion.


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