Press Release
November 11, 2008


Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today tossed the challenge to President Arroyo and leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives to provide the necessary funds for the automation of the synchronized elections in May 2010.

Gordon, co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System, said it is now up to both Mrs. Arroyo and Congress to make allocations for the P21-billion budgetary request of the Commission on Elections to enable it to implement Republic Act (RA) 9369, or the Amended Automation Elections Law.

"Let us put our money where our mouth is. Or were we merely paying lip-service to the Filipino people when we promised them that we are for modernizing the electoral process to ensure that the next elections would be clean, honest and credible?" he said.

"It might be expensive, but how much is our democracy worth? The law is there, and it is ripe for implementation. Let us live up to our commitment to the Filipino electorate by funding the full automation of the 2010 elections," he added.

The automation of the electoral process is included in President Arroyo's 10-point agenda, which will be implemented through the use of the latest technology for voting, counting, canvassing, transmission of election results.

"President Arroyo will be leaving a great legacy at the end of her term if she exercises strong political will now and support nationwide poll automation program. Our commitment to safeguard the sanctity of the people's vote should stand firm," he added.

Gordon said Congress' continued failure to allocate the budgetary requirement has already caused glitches in the Comelec's tight timetable in its bid to implement RA 9369.

In the poll body's timetable submitted to the Senate, the budget should have been released last Oct. 24, the invitation to bid should have been published last Oct. 27 and it should already be holding a pre-bid conference last Nov.10.

"Our continued delay in providing the necessary funds will only cause further setback for the Comelec unless we provide the needed wherewithal to them," he pointed out.

Gordon also stressed that the conduct of an honest, clean and credible election has been an elusive dream for every Filipino.

"If we fail, or even refuse, to act and stand for what should be done to achieve that dream, then we miserably fail as a nation and as a people. For that dream to be realized, the modernization of the country's electoral exercises is a step in the right direction. The full automation of our country's electoral process is a sine qua non condition for a vibrant democracy," he said.

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