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SC to hold oral argument on petition asking Comelec to activate voter receipts

/ 05:11 PM March 15, 2016

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hold an oral argument on the petition asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to enable the voter verification paper audit trail (VVPAT) feature to be able to issue receipts to voters on the May 9, 2016 polls.

Oral arguments will be on Thursday at 10 a.m.

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“The argument will be on very limited issues,” Atty. Theodore Te, Public Information Office Chief, said at a press conference.

The high court’s order came following the Comelec’s submission of a motion for reconsideration seeking a reversal of the high court’s earlier order to enable the voters’ receipt system.

READ: Comelec asks SC to reconsider ruling

Voting 14-0, the high court last week granted the petition of senatorial aspirant Richard Gordon.

The high court said Comelec is mandated to comply with the provision of Republic Act (RA) No. 8436, which authorizes the automation of the Philippine election system, as amended by RA No. 9369, “which requires  the automated election system to have the capability of providing a voter-verified paper audit trail.”

READ: SC orders Comelec to issue vote receipts

In its motion for reconsideration, Comelec, through Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, said that the use of the VVPAT would result in “additional time of at least two hours and 10 minutes” for all voters to leave the counting machines and longer lines “which may discourage voters from exercising their right of suffrage.”

It also warned that the voting period could be extended to more than 20 hours since the issuance of receipts would require four more additional steps in the polling process—enabling of ambiguous marks screen, enabling of vote review screen, printing and tearing of voting receipt and dropping of the voting receipt into another box, which will be provided by the Comelec apart from the ballot box.

Comelec also pointed out that printing of voting receipts is merely a surplusage since the best evidence of how voters expressed their intention is the ballot itself. RAM

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TAGS: Comelec, Commission on Elections, Elections 2016, SC, Supreme Court, Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail, VVPAT
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