By Marlon Purificacion | Journal Online
Until all its cases are resolved
WITH the controversies surrounding Smartmatic, Senator Nancy Binay yesterday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify Smartmatic from taking part in the forthcoming elections until all cases involving the election system provider are resolved with finality.
Binay made the call following the criminal indictment of Smartmatic officials and Comelec personnel for their unauthorized script change in the Transparency Server at the height of the transmission of votes in the last election.
“There are a lot of issues being raised against Smartmatic even in the 2010 and 2013 elections and so in the spirit of accountability and transparency, Smartmatic should be suspended and not allowed to participate in the forthcoming elections in 2019 or until the cases being raised against the company are resolved with finality,” Binay said.
She added there is indeed a pressing need to look into the allegations against Smartmatic because of the far-reaching effect it may have on the country’s democratic processes.
This is the reason why, she pointed out, she filed Resolution No. 376 last May 2017 to immediately constitute and convene the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) on the Automated Election System to look into the conduct of the May 9, 2016 elections.
Citing Republic Act 9369, Binay said the JCOC -- which is composed of seven members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives -- is mandated under Republic Act 9369 or the Automated Election Law to conduct a mandatory review of the implementation of the AES and make recommendations thereon to Congress every 12 months from the date of the last elections.
Binay, a member of the JCOC, in the same Resolution, also called on the Comelec Advisory Council to immediately submit its report on last year’s elections as it noted that it should have submitted the said report within six months from the conduct of the elections.
The JCOC on the automated election system has as its chairmen and vice chairmen, respectively Senators Leila De Lima and Francis Pangilinan for the Senate and Reps. Sherwin Tugna and Luisa Lloren Cuaresma for the House of Representatives.
Binay further stated that convening the JCOC on the AES would provide the much-needed venue to make public the many issues that had plagued the conduct of the elections last year.
She added reforms need to be implemented not only in the AES law but in the Comelec itself to correct the practice of its officials of virtually ceding control of the elections to Smartmatic.
“It’s our right to suffrage that is at stake here and Smartmatic has been the service provider since 2010 and until now issues are being raised and filed against it. Prudence dictates that we should not allow Smartmatic to tinker with our elections until all issues against it are resolved,” she pointed out.