THE coming recall elections in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, will be held manually despite an existing law mandating the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to employ automated election system in all national and local poll exercises.
Comelec spokesman, Director James Jimenez, on Tuesday said they saw no legal impediments about conducting the elections manually in Palawan’s capital as it had been done many times in the past.
Jimenez added that in all instances when there are questions on whether recall elections will be conducted manually or automated, the poll body has always been upheld by the court.
He explained that the problem in automated elections is that before the system can be used, the petitioners must first secure a certification, which, he pointed out, would take at least six months.
Jimenez said the recall polls needed ballots, which also takes time to produce based on the num-ber of voters, among other factors.
“Here in the [Puerto Princesa] recall elections in April, we still don’t know the [date of]the filing of certificate of candidacy, meaning we still don’t know the names to be printed on the ballot,” he added.
Jimenez noted that barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) elections were also held manually without any legal problem.
Republic Act 9369 mandates the Comelec to use an automated election system in the May 11, 1998 national and local elections and in subsequent national and local electoral exercises thereafter.
According to Jimenez, the recall election has been set on May 8 or a day before the deadline set by the Omnibus Election Code that any recall elections should be done within a year before the next one.