Business Mirror - Senators eyeing hybrid manual and automated election system

31 July 2018

By Butch Fernandez | Business Mirror

SENATORS are mulling over the possibility of having the Commission on Elections adopt a “hybrid manual-and-automated” system in future elections to avert a repeat of poll irregularities and snafus attending the last automated electoral exercise.

At Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Electoral Reforms Committee chaired by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate President Vicente Sotto III suggested that the Comelec take time to study the possibility of adopting this option, even if not in next year’s mid-term elections.

“Everything is possible in politics,” Pimentel said in endorsing Sotto’s suggestion that Comelec consider shifting to a “hybrid manual and automated electoral system,” as the Senate committee hearing went through various election reform measures, including a bill providing local absentee voting for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Pimentel promptly ruled out early adoption of the “hybrid manual and automated elections” conceding there is “no more time” for the Comelec to implement it in the 2019 polls.

Still, the senator indicated that if next year’s fully-automated electoral exercise is still attended by irregularities “(Kung meron pang kapalpakan), we have no choice but abandon it and go hybrid.”

“Why should we continue to implement a law that does not level the playing field?,” asked Pimentel, adding that the Senate committee is also taking note of suggestions to “look into (the possibility of allowing) on-line voting.”

He, however, clarified the committee is still “far from moving to enact a law implementing it,” but adds that “if any one can show us” how it can be done, they are willing to listen.