Press Release
May 13, 2009

Loren backs second poll automation bidding

Senator Loren Legarda supported today a plan by the Commission on Election (Comelec) to hold a second poll automation bidding in the event of the first bidding being declared a failure by the commission's special bids and awards committee.

The senator said that the Comelec plan initiated by Chairman Jose Melo would be the right thing to do since the automation of the 2010 elections is mandated by Republic Act 9369 or the Poll Automation Law. The Comelec bids committee was scheduled yesterday to rule on the motions for reconsideration submitted by the initial batch of bidders, which had all been disqualified by the committee for one reason or another.

Loren said the Comelec should steer away from a negotiated poll automation contract. "Chairman Jose Melo was correct in deducing that the people would suspect that the Comelec intended for the poll automation bidding to fail to pave the way for a negotiated contract with a favored firm," she said.

"This being the case, the prudent thing to do is to hold a second bidding, a possibility raised by the Comelec chair himself."

Loren said Filipinos are closely watching developments at the Comelec because of suspicion that the administration may want to take advantage of the vulnerability to fraud of manual elections to "win" in the 2010 elections.

Still, there's a bigger threat rising, and it has to do with moves in the House of Representatives to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly bereft of Senate participation, said Loren.

"The cat is now out of the bag as far as the true intention of this administration on cha-cha. It is now obvious they want to extend the term of President Arroyo by having her as prime minister of the parliamentary form of government House leaders are now pushing."

"Their supposed intention to amend just the economic provisions of the Constitution had been exposed as a mere cover. They are treading on dangerous waters as they may lead the country into a constitutional crisis or a social upheaval," she stressed.

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