Sen. Richard Gordon, one of the authors of the Poll Automation Law, said he had been asking Abalos to step down for failing to implement the law and modernize the election system even just in some areas. Sen. Edgardo Angara co-authored the bill.
“Look what’s happening? We cannot proclaim the 12th senator, this should not be the case,” Gordon said in a phone interview from the US.
The automation was set for pilot-testing in six provinces and six highly urbanized cities in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, but the plan did not push through.
Gordon said it was time for Mrs. Arroyo to “walk the talk” by providing the budget for the measure.
“This should be part of her legacy. She must be able to put us out of the dark ages. It is a moral responsibility. It will be very good way to exit from the presidency,” Gordon said.
Gordon said Mrs. Arroyo should appoint new commissioners with “impeccable credentials.”
Gordon also said Mrs. Arroyo should make Abalos account for the P1.3 billion paid to Mega Pacific Consortium for substandard counting machines. “We cannot just smile and say sorry we lost P1.3 billion,” Gordon said.
The Supreme Court had declared illegal and voided the contract between Comelec and Mega Pacific. But the Ombudsman exonerated the Comelec officials despite the SC’s ruling. “Abalos should be made accountable for all these things,” Gordon said.
Under an automated election system, tally results are transmitted immediately to the Comelec, political parties, media and other poll monitoring groups. The system involves paper-based records for easy verification of votes.
CBCP: Change Comelec chief
By Edu Punay
Philstar Tuesday, July 10, 2007
w/Paolo Romero, Aurea Calica, Marvin Sy, Sheila Crisostomo