Comelec to implement manual polls as back up plan should automation fails

January 25, 2010 10:55 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 25 — In response to a statement of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to have a back-up plan in the event the automated election system (AES) fails, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Jose Melo said they will implement manual elections in case the automation process will not push through.

“We will implement manual elections,” he said.

With this, the poll body chief said the AES is undergoing a crucial stage and it would decide on whether the country will have an automated polls in the May 10, 2010 national and local polls.

“What is crucial here is a failure in the laboratory tests because (if there is failure in the lab test) there is no need anymore for the field test… we don’t need anymore certification (of the source code),” Melo said.

However, when asked whether the Comelec remains confident that the laboratory test will not fail, he said “The lab tests are going very well so the field test, expectedly, will go just as well… Surely, we're into automation but still we can never tell…,” Melo said.

Last week, the Comelec and the consortium, Smartmatic- TIM Corporation, started the laboratory tests of the system at a warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna and will end on Monday.

The trial involves the end-to-end test run of the automated system of counting, transmission and canvassing of election results.

On Sunday, the influential bishops’ group expressed concern over the preparations of the Comelec in automating the scheduled elections.

They advised the poll body to come up with an adequate alternative in case the voting machines fail to meet the expectations. (PNA)

DCT/FGP/utb

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