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Manual polls an option only for worst-case scenario — Brillantes


Manual election is still an option in May, but only for the worst-case scenario, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Thursday. “Manual is the final contingency kung talagang may mangyaring grabe na talagang hindi na matutuloy [ang automation],” Brillantes told reporters. Although Brillantes said they are ready for such eventuality, he expressed confidence that the present situation does not call for the manual conduct of elections.   “Hindi naman tayo pupunta sa manual. The law already requires automation,” he said. He also said they are not giving weight to proposals to revert to manual polls.   “Meron din kaming contingency in the event na kailangang mag-manual, pero hindi namin masyadong pinapansin 'yan dahil hindi naman kami naniniwalang kailangan naming mag-manual,” the Comelec chief said. Members of the minority bloc at the House of Representatives on Wednesday said they would be “more comfortable” with a manual election after some glitches were observed during the mock elections held over the weekend in preparation for the May automated polls.   During the mock polls held in various areas last Saturday, some glitches were encountered in transmitting the results and feeding the ballots to the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS). Brillantes, who said the mock polls generally went “smoothly” despite the glitches, said those who want manual elections should repeal Republic Act 9369, which mandates the automated casting and counting of votes. Section 1 of the Poll Automation Law states that: “It is policy of the State to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful, credible and informed elections... by improving on the election process and adopting systems, which shall involved the use of an automated election system.” — Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News
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