Friday, February 8, 2013

Automated election process in Philippines

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to address the issue on the automated election process.

In its pastoral letter issued on Tuesday, the CBCP said the issue on possible cheating alleged by different groups should be addressed to prevent inconsistencies in the result of the scheduled polls.

"If not properly addressed, the present automated election system can lead to wholesale cheating. The integrity of a pillar of our democracy--the election--is at stake," said the statement signed by CBCP President Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.

The bishops' conference noted that electoral exercise is not a matter of getting the results fast but of trustworthiness and honesty.

"We call upon the Comelec to adequately address the issues and respond, place corrective measures if necessary, to the studies of technical experts to the alleged deficiencies of the present system and technology of automated elections. There can be no transparency in elections if the Comelec itself is not transparent," the statement added.

Palma explained that they are echoing the concerns of the people so that it will be properly addressed by the concern agency.

"We voice out the concern of many because we would wish and we want the elections as a process, will truly be credible. Until these guarantees are in placed, we will continue to be fearful," he said.

With this, he said they are planning to conduct another meeting before the poll body to discuss their election concerns.

Early this week, the Comelec had a meeting with the bishops at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila.

For his part, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the poll body has to make sure that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines will not be used in cheating.

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