UP Law prof to SC: Order Comelec to implement voter’s receipt
University of the Philippines College of Law professor Harry Roque on Monday asked the Supreme Court to order the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to implement the voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), the system capability feature for the vote receipt printing of the vote counting machines to be used in the May 2016 national elections.
In his petition-in-intervention, Roque, who is the first nominee of the party-list group KABAYAN, said disabling the essential security features of the automated election system “deprives the voters of their right to verify whether or not their votes are appreciated and counted correctly in accordance with his choice.”
Citing the Roque vs. Comelec case, he said the Supreme Court did not in any way authorize the Comelec to dispense with the paper audit trail or the voter’s receipt since it is expected that the feature of issuing a voter receipt or VVPAT is available on Election Day at the demand of the voter.
“It must be noted that the purpose of these minimum system capability requirements under the law is to ensure the Constitutional requirement of the secrecy and sanctity of the ballots of the voters,” Roque said in his petition.
The high court has already ordered the Comelec to enable the VVPAT when it granted the petition filed by senatorial candidate Richard Gordon.
The Office of the Solicitor-General, on behalf of the Comelec, urged the high court to reverse its order.
Roque said Comelec “should not be allowed to once again hold the electorate hostage to the terrible consequences of its gross negligence, if not its malicious refusal, to install in the voting machines and make available to the people a crucial element of transparency and integrity in the conduct of the national elections.”
Despite the requirements under the law, Roque said Comelec treated such essential security feature as “a mere optional function.”
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