Press Release
April 15, 2010


By Sen. Nene Pimentel

The Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System should immediately convene to help Comelec Chairman Jose Melo ensure the proper use of extra funds at the disposal of the Comelec.

The Comelec was given some P11.3+ billion to automate the election process.

It awarded Smartmatic a P7.1+ billion contract to do the automation.

That left some P2.1+ billion to the Comelec to use for other "extra" things.

It is in the use of this sum that the oversight function of Congress is needed to help make certain that it is not cavalierly misused.

For instance, the Comelec will have to deliver 76,340 ballot boxes to the election registrars of 120 cities and 1501 municipalities.

The total cost of transportation of those ballot boxes was sit at P519 million.

That means that the cost of transportation per ballot box is P6,800 per ballot box.

[There is an additional information (still to be verified) that another sum of P499 million has been set aside for the delivery of the ballot boxes to 1,600 treasurers throughout the country.]

Is the money for the transportation of the ballot boxes justified? Or is it inflated?

Those are some questions that need public, truthful and urgent answers.

In any event, what is important is that the money of the people that has been set aside for the elections automation is used properly.

To achieve that end, it seems there is an immediate need to convene the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System to strengthen the hand of Chairman Melo and the other well-meaning commissioners of the Comelec in the proper use of the extra funds at their disposal.

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