SC urged to order Comelec to return to manual polls
SEVERAL groups including a political party on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to order the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to stop taking steps for an automated election next year and order a return to manual voting in the 2016 local and national elections.
In a 21-page petition, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka (PMM) and the Movement for National Salvation (MNS) told the high court that there must be transparency in every election.
“The people must see that their votes are counted in public and in the presence of watchers of their candidates,” petitioners said.
They added that cheating is easily detected in manual elections than in computerized voting.
Petitioners told the high court that it should not allow the poll body to once again abdicate its duty and functions in next year’s polls like what it has done in the 2010 and 2013 elections when it allowed Smartmatic to conduct the elections.
They added that the elections were attended by various infirmities and irregularities because of the PCOS machines.
“Despite the above sordid record and background of respondent Smartmatic, respondents Comelec and Smartmatic are pursuing the same conduct of elections for the May 2016 elections, using the same unreliable PCOS machine of Smartmatic, that will once more deprive the people of their constitutional right [ to] elect their officials, freely and personally, in a free, honest and clean elections,” the petition said.
“Unless the Honorable Supreme Court issue a writ of prohibition against the use of PCOS machine by the respondents, and a writ of mandamus to compel the respondent Comelec to go back to manual voting, the elections in 2016 will surely be a repetition of the anomalous 2010 and 2013 elections, and for the next six years from 2016, this nation will be governed by unelected representatives, who are not voted by the people, in a free, honest and clean elections,” it added.
Petitioners added that the 1987 Constitution and its framers intended to have manual elections as there was no mentioned whatsoever in the Charter of automated voting.
More so, they stressed that Smartmatic being a foreign-owned company should “not be allowed to defeat the Constitution that declares sovereignty resides in the people and all authority emanate from them.”
Also, they argued that in manual elections, there is a paper trail compared to the AES and that the actual ballot should be the basis for proclamation and protest and not the computer printouts of the vote counting machines.
It will be recalled that the high court has declared as null and void the PCOS repair deals between the respondents but Comelec and Smartmatic still entered into an agreement on July 29 to supply 23,000 Optical Mark Readers machines for P1.7 billion and to supply 70, 977 new OMR machines for P7, 867, 298.140.
The petitioners said by entering into these contracts, the poll body committed grave abuse of discretion, tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction, which it added extended to Smartmatic due to its “unwarranted advantage and benefit at the expense of the people’s money.”
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