Comelec told to answer Gordon petition
The Supreme Court Tuesday ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to comment on senatorial candidate Richard Gordon’s petition to require the poll body to activate the receipt feature of voting machines as a security and verification system during the May balloting.
Court spokesperson Theodore Te said Tuesday the high court gave the Comelec five days to respond to the petition filed on Monday by Gordon and his party, the Bagumbayan-VNP Movement Inc.
The Comelec had deactivated the receipt feature in the automated election machines, saying it could be used as a tool for vote buying and vote selling, and it would extend the voting period by seven hours.
Gordon and his party had asked the high court to compel Comelec to enforce the automated election law’s provision requiring the use of the Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail, a system that issues a receipt to each voter after casting his or her votes.
Gordon said such a “physical record” gives every voter the opportunity to verify that the choices indicated on the paper record correspond to the choices that the voter made on the electronic voting machine.
The former Senator, who had authored the Automated Elections System Law, said the verification system was a “critical and indispensable” security feature of voting machines to be used in the elections.
“I [authored] that law in 2007 to amend Republic Act No. 8436 which was [enacted] in 1997 and we had our first nationwide fully-automated elections in 2010 yet the election fraud that the law sought to eradicate still mars our elections to this day. We have got to stop being complacent and apathetic,” he urged.
“The Comelec has to comply with the requirements of the law, because a congressional legislation cannot be amended by an executive mandate,” he added.
Gordon called on other political parties, candidates, nongovernment organizations, election watchdogs, voters and all citizens to add their voices to the call for the Comelec to implement more safeguards, such as issuing the receipts after a voter casts his vote. With Jerome Aning
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