Inquirer.net – Sotto checking alleged bid to let Comelec waive safeguards in automated election law

By Neil Arwin Mercado | Inquirer.net

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III opposed Sunday an alleged bid to allow the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to waive safeguards in the procurement of equipment and materials for automated elections.

On Twitter, election lawyer Emil Marañon said “someone at the Senate” was attempting to insert a provision in the 2021 national budget giving Comelec authority to disregard all the requirements and safeguards in Section 12 of the Automated Election Law.

Section 12 of the law deals with the procurement of election equipment and materials, including safeguards such as that “the system procured must have demonstrated capability and been successfully used in a prior electoral exercise here or abroad.”

Sotto replied to Marañon’s tweet saying that he had started to look into the allegations.

“Cannot allow. I’m looking into it already!” Sotto said.

The Senate President likewise said that the proposal would be easy to shoot down.

“Provisions of a general law cannot amend the provision of a special law. RA 8436 as amended by 9369 is a special law while GAA is a general law,” Sotto said.

For 2021, the Comelec has a proposed budget of P14.56-billion to be used for renting vote-counting machines (VCMs) and printing and distribution of supplies for the 2022 presidential elections.

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