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

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Poll automation will regain public trust

The automated election system would be a game-changer in Philippine politics come May 2010 as it would regain the fast-waning public trust towards the country's electoral system said Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today.

Gordon, author of the amended Automated Election Systems Law, logged as Republic Act (RA) 9369, issued the statement as he lauded the signing into law by President Arroyo of the P11.3-billion supplemental budget for poll automation.

"We have come a long way in fighting to modernize our electoral process. Let us make this work for our young and fragile democracy, and throw wholesale electoral cheating into the dustbin of our history," he said.

"In passing the automated elections law, Congress made a decision that changes the rules of the game. Once implemented according to Congress' intent, the automated election system will indeed be a game-changer in Philippine politics," he added.

More than a year before the 2010 elections, the senator moved for the passage of the P11.3-b poll automation budget to ensure that the Commission on Elections could no longer cite the same reason and postpone anew the automation of election.

He filed Senate Bill 3021 which proposed the Comelec's supplemental budget and pushed for its early passage to ensure that the funds will be released to the poll body on time.

"With the needed financial resources now at the Comelec's hands, we need to ensure that our hard labor shall bear the fruits of democracy. With political will, the automation of the elections will make us strong as a nation and as a people," he said According to him, the Filipino people would greatly benefit from an automated electoral system not only because it will get rid of massive electoral fraud that often marred past elections but also ensure speedy, clean, honest and orderly elections.

"It will change the way we vote. It will change the way we count votes. It will change the way elections are decided. It will also change the way politicians plan to cheat in the balloting," he said.

Gordon, former chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revisions of codes and laws, said next year's presidential elections would go down in history as the first automated elections in the country.

"Now, at long last, the system is about to change," he said.

RA 9369 prescribes the full automation of next year's election after its implementation was shelved in the 2007 elections for lack of sufficient time for preparations.

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