Senators seek review of automated election law

MANILA – Several senators on Tuesday said the country’s Automated Election System Law should be reviewed in the light of the allegations of vote-shaving in the last May 9 elections.

”The Fair Elections Act, has to be reviewed, especially the Automation Law. We have to invite these people to shed light on what they know and we will be able to test the veracity of their allegations,” Senate deputy minority leader Vicente Sotto III said in a media interview.

Sotto said the allegations of the three whistleblowers that they were ordered to manipulate the elections results in Quezon province in favor of the Liberal Party (LP) national candidates deserved investigation.

”It’s worth looking into because if that allegedly happened in 2013 and this time in 2016, so that’s too dangerous in 2019. We need not to hold surveys or elections. We just have to ask Smartmatic if who they want to win,” Sotto said.

Senator Cynthia Villar agreed with Sotto that the allegations should be looked into, saying the present automation law is not transparent.

”I think it would be important for us to be guided in the future. We should correct if there are things that are wrong in this election for the next elections,” Villar said.

Villar said she was in favor of hybrid election where manual counting of votes should be done at the precinct level and then it will be transmitted electronically to the municipal level.

”If it is full automation, we have no basis if you want to make a complaint. So I’m in favor of hybrid. It is very important that people are convinced that our system of election is reliable,” Villar said.

Senator Serge Osmena III, who failed in his re-election bid, said the vote-rigging allegations are part of the bigger effort to manipulate the results of the elections.

”What they said, I think, have credibility and it will deserve a deeper investigation,” Osmena said.

Osmena, however, clarified that he has no plan to file electoral protest, saying “I just wanted to amend the law because the process is not transparent.”

”You have to trust the voting machine that your vote will be counted. Ngayon, hindi mo nakita, di ba? At kung na-intercept iyan or sila ba ay may control ng SD card, ng flash card, wala na, tapos ka na,” Osmena said.

”Never mind me. What I want is future elections will be credible,” he added.

The senators said any review or investigation of the election fraud allegations should be done in the next 17th Congress which will open in the last Monday of July.

The present 16th Congress is set to adjourn sine die next week. Jelly Musico/PNA