FORMER Senator Richard J. Gordon yesterday called on voters not to allow the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) seeming inability and refusal to fully comply with the requirements of the law rob them of the opportunity to have a clean, honest, transparent and credible elections on May 9.
Gordon made the call in the wake of the poll body’s statement that it will comply with the Supreme Court’s (SC) order to print voters’ receipts but the vote counting machines [VCM] will only print simple receipts without security features such as hash code, precinct number and time of voting.
“In as much as Comelec again will not put the time stamp, and precinct number on the voter verified paper audit trail, let us show them we are not helpless against their refusal and seeming inability to stringently implement the requirements of the law,” the senatorial candidate said.
“For myself, when I vote and get my printed receipt, I will sign my name, write my precinct number and time I voted on it. Then I will put it in the receipt box,” he added.
Gordon earlier stressed the need for the VVPAT [Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail] to show the precinct number, time of voting and the hash code to be an effective tool for voter verification, adding that it would merely be just a piece of paper if it will not have such security features.
After the oral arguments on Thursday, the SC affirmed its decision ordering the Comelec to enable the VCM’s VVPAT feature. The decision was final and executory.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said that since the high court has decided, the Comelec will comply and try to do its best to ensure credible elections in May. He assured that the vote counting machines that will be used in the 92,059 clustered precincts around the country, as well as at least 100 units overseas, will print receipts.
However, Bautista said these will be simple receipts, without identifiable marks such as hash codes and precinct names.
Gordon, author of RA 9369 or the Amended Automated Elections Systems Law which required the said safeguard, said it could still be done in the remaining period that the Comelec has if they had the willpower and commitment to ensure credible elections.