Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm Still for Automation in 2013

We just concluded another session of the hearing in Congress regarding the 2010 Elections. Incidentally, the hearing is entitled, “The May 10, 2010 Automated Elections : An Assessment “.

This means that the hearing is convened not just as a venue for those complaining about alleged election fraud. It also serves to see how the Automated Election System, Smartmatic and Comelec performed in the recent elections. That’s why I’m participating in the hearing, not to complain, but to do an assessment coming from the point of view of a candidate and policy maker.

As I was going out of the hearing room, I was asked by a reporter, “Sir, do you still think that we should automate the elections in 2013?” My immediate answer is “Yes, I think we should still automate the elections in 2013!”

The reporter seemed to have been expecting a different answer. “Sir, aren’t you concerned that with all of the allegations coming out in this hearing, there will be cheating again in 2013?” She added that with the critical questions I’ve been asking it seemed that I was against automation.

“I want automated elections”, I said. “With the manual system, I already know there’s cheating and it’s difficult to control that because at every step of the way, there is human intervention. And that’s the dangerous part, human intervention.” I went further to tell her that all we need to do with the Automated Election System is to put into place additional safeguards and correct its flaws in order to become more reliable and secure. If we can design it in such a way that there is least opportunity for human intervention, it would be good for us.

I further reminded the reporter that at this time, all we are listening to are allegations of fraud which have yet to be pursued through the legal processes and proven as actually having occurred. “We should look at these hearings as an opportunity to answer questions that could either clarify issues or improve the system.”

I believe the best time to do the evaluation is immediately after the elections where the interest and desire to look into the issues are still high. If we let months pass by, it will surely be relegated to the dustbin of our memories and remain unresolved, only to be pulled out again as an issue that needs to be addressed at the last minute before the next elections.

I would like to see automated elections in this country succeed. That is why I’m asking my questions during these hearings because I want it to be implemented in the next elections. I don’t want to give naysayers a reason to say that the system is a hopelessly flawed system and therefore, the justification to go back to the manual method.

With only about a month left in my term, I would like to be able to do my part as a policy maker, an overseer of the people’s interest in Congress, and earn my pay by doing my duty up to the very last day. This is not about whining after a defeat. It is about doing my sworn duty and contributing to the security of the next generation’s future.

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