House minority bloc to Comelec: Replace Smartmatic or no 2019 budget
The House minority bloc will move for the rejection of the 2019 budget of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) if it would not replace Smartmatic as its vote-counting machines (VCMs) provider, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez and Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza warned on Thursday.
At a media forum in Quezon City, Suarez and Atienza criticized anew the alleged “lapses” and “irregularities” committed by the election technology firm during the 2016 polls.
“On the part of the minority… ‘Pag hindi binago si Smartmatic (If Smartmatic won’t be changed), we’ll move for the rejection of the budget of the Comelec for 2019. Glaring na glaring naman ‘yung lapses nila,” Suarez said, noting the alleged discrepancies in the transmission date of the May 9, 2016 balloting and cases of tampered ballots.
Atienza has also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to remove Smartmatic and replace it with a local election technology firm “and you will get the respect of every Filipino.”
The Buhay party-list representative also said the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) should be “out of the picture” and a local election technology firm be installed for the upcoming 2019 mid-term elections.
“Let the PPCRV out of the picture, let’s get somebody else to handle the computerization. Filipino technical men are more prepared than Smartmatic, they can even render better service and definitely more patriotic,” Atienza said.
Pressed if a clean election would be ensured once the government gets a new election technology firm, Atienza said: “Walang kasiguruhan (there’s no assurance), we have to really be vigilant all the time.” /muf
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