House minority hits Brillantes over comment on manual balloting
MANILA, Philippines — The House minority bloc on Wednesday called Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.’s statement on going back to manual poll process irresponsible and urged that the poll body not downplay glitches encountered during the mock elections.
In a press conference at the House of Representatives, House minority leader Danilo Suarez said Brillantes’ statement that if critics wanted to change the precinct count optical scan (PCOS), then they should just “go back to manual.”
He described Brillantes’ statement to have been “irresponsibly retorted in response to expressed concerns over the Comelec’s readiness for the midterm elections in May.”
The Comelec chief was then reacting to criticisms on the glitches the poll body encountered during the mock elections during the weekend, saying that such issues were unavoidable in mock elections.
Suarez said that the Comelec should not take glitches lightly, pointing out that “though Chairman Brillantes was quick to downplay the implications of Saturday’s exercise, we beg to strongly differ from his opinion.”
Despite having less than 100 days before the polls, Suarez said they would not mind if the Comelec went ahead with manual elections instead. “Kung may serious glitches, why not go manual? Tutal, midterm lang ito.”
Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez called on the Comelec to resolve the glitches before the May polls, saying “there is a lot of confusion. Call on the Comelec leadership dahil hindi ganun kaayos ang pagpatakbo nila.”
“Poll automation is the law but if there are circumstances preventing it then we go to the default (process which is) manual,” he said, adding that there should be an exception to that law in case the automated system “bogs down and if there is no other choice.”