CA secret voting system lacks transparency

MANILA — A senator on Tuesday said he will be filing a resolution seeking to review the current secret voting system of the Commission on Appointments (CA) noting that it “lacked transparency.”

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV revealed his plan after the powerful appointments body rejected the confirmation of Gina Lopez as environment secretary last week via secret voting system.

Several senators manifested their objection to the CA recommendation to reject Lopez’s appointment in the plenary. These include Senators Vicente Sotto III, Loren Legarda, Joseph Victor Ejercito and Francis Pangilinan.

However, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, among those who voted to reject Lopez’s confirmation, said that this move “defeated” the essence of secret voting.

“It looks like (secret voting) is a process that, in the start, members thought would be advantageous but after the confirmation of (Environment) Sec. (Gen) Lopez, there were questioned raised on the results of voting,” Aquino told reporters in an interview.

“It might be beneficial to review and eventually see if we need to modify or change it,” he added noting that there were issues on the results of voting and public pronouncements of some lawmakers.

Aquino also said that the public questioned why the voting system had to be kept secret. The secret voting system allowed members of the CA to freely vote without fear for their physical safety or pressure.

“What happened to Sec. Lopez needed to happen before we considered that this process had a problem. At that time the reasons of physical safety and taking us away from the pressures of different lobby groups seemed to be a good idea but after the vote of Sec. Lopez it appears like we need to review it again,” Aquino explained.

Asked if he was open to switching back to the original voting process, Aquino said the CA should first weigh in on the reasons why the process was placed to begin with and its drawbacks including lack of transparency.

He said he has yet to meet members of the CA to decide on whether the voting system should only modify some provisions or whether it should be removed completely.

The senator further pointed out that the members of the CA should be “accountable” with their votes.

He said that senators belonging to the minority bloc and some members of the majority bloc have been supportive of his resolution. Azer N. Parrocha and May A. Altavano-OJT/PNA

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