The Supreme Court (SC) en banc on Tuesday junked a plea of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) asking for more time to submit its comment on a petition of former senator Richard Gordon and his party Bagumbayan-VNP Movement Inc., who urged the High Court to compel the poll body to implement the verified voter’s receipt in the May 2016 polls.
With the denial of an extension, the case will now be up for decision.
The Comelec en banc had unanimously ruled against using the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), which it said could be used as a tool for vote-buying and would also extend the voting period by seven hours.
The VVPAT system allows voters to verify if their ballots were cast correctly through the issuance of a receipt.
The receipt would show the names of candidates that the voters had chosen.
It is seen serving as a deterrent against election fraud and providing a means to audit stored electronic results.
Gordon said the VVPAT, a safeguard put in place to ensure sanctity of the ballot, gives the voter the opportunity to verify that the choices indicated on the paper record correspond to those that the voter made in casting his ballot.
Under Republic Act 9369, the VVPAT is a critical and indispensable security feature of automated voting machines.
Gordon pointed out that the inclusion of this mandatory requirement under the Automated Election Law was previously and flagrantly violated by the Comelec during the 2010 and 2013 elections.
Two other petitioners are seeking implementation of the VVPAT—Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and former Manila councilor Greco Belgica.