"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Friday, August 01, 2008

ARMM polls psotponement won't pass Senate

The Senate committee on suffrage yesterday virtually closed its doors
on a postponement of the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM) scheduled on Aug. 11, saying the Upper Chamber is not
keen on entertaining the bill filed in the Lower House for that purpose.

In an interview, Sen. Richard Gordon told the Tribune that while they
respect the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the government should not just
accede to the MILF's demand for the ARMM election's postponement as
the rebels are seeking the inclusion of 712 new barangays and the
cities of Lamitan and Cotobato in the expanded region.

"The peace accord should be unconditional," said Gordon. "For the
government to accept the demand of the MILF would
only weaken our position on the negotiating table."

"I don't want to strengthen the hand of MILF by postponing the ARMM election."

"As chairman of suffrage, I object to a postponement," said Gordon."

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), he said, has already concluded
a series of simulated polls using both the Optical Mark Reader and
Direct Recording Electronic types of automated election systems, the
senator said. "Thus, we are on the eve of electoral greatness and with
the Automated Election systems now in place, we will hear our
democracy speak the truth clearly and quickly," the author of the
Amended Automated Elections Law said.

"We will finally see the end of a lack of closure in our political exercises,
where even the counting of votes is concluded with no clear winner emerging as opposing camps hurl accusations of fraud at each other."

Gordon added that if the ARMM election is postponed, people would be
made to shoulder the P300 million bill for the lease of the automated
election machines.

"We are only leasing the equipment for the automated polls and they
have already been paid. If we postpone the elections, then there goes
another P300 million in public funds that will go down the drain,"
said Gordon.

ARMM polls'postponement won't pass Senate, says Gordon
By Charlie V. Manalo
The Daily Tribune