Press Release
September 9, 2008


Senator Richard J. Gordon today asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to review its proposed 2009 Php 3.8-billion budget to ensure that the country will have a clean, modern and credible election in May 2010.

Gordon, chairman of the joint congressional oversight committee on automated election system, said that the Comelec should review and revise its annual budget and make certain that it reflects the requirements for the full computerization of elections.

"The Senate does not interfere in Comelec functions, but our concern now is to give the Comelec enough time so that there will be no more excuses (in the implementation of a fully automated 2010 elections," he said during yesterday's hearing.

Gordon, chief author of the Election Automation Law, said that the Comelec's figure of Php 50 billion for the complete automation of election seems too bloated.

Estimates of the supplier of the system showed that a combination of the two technologies, 75% Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) and 25% Optical Mark Reader (OMR), would only cost between Php 15 to 18 billion.

He explained that Comelec should immediately study and submit its budget proposal for the next two years so that it can still be included in the 2009 General Appropriations Bill before the House of Representatives starts its deliberations.

Gordon said he remains optimistic that despite the high cost of the automated poll system, the Comelec can implement a totally computerized election for 2010.

"How much is our democracy worth? I believe that an automated election system will save us time and a lot of money on electoral protests. A credible election system will restore our people's trust and confidence not only in our electoral process, but also in our government," Gordon said.

"We had the automated elections in ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) last month. We've gone this far already insofar as the automation of election is concerned. I think we can have a fully automated election on 2010, but the budget should be released immediately as soon as the Comelec submits it budget proposal," he added.

Gordon said the Comelec should fast track its preparations and lay down a timetable for the efficient execution of a computerized election system in two years' time.

He also stressed that the country should push for a 2010 automated elections to ensure a more honest, clean and fair polls as evidenced by the August 11 ARMM elections.

News Latest News Feed