Press Release
April 20, 2010

Legarda to COMELEC: Step up preparations
for the coming national elections

NP-NPC-LDP Vice Presidential Candidate Senator Loren Legarda today pushed the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to step up its preparations for the upcoming national elections, and to identify which precincts will have no automatic transmission on May 10.

"We're hearing various speculations about how there would be a failure of elections come May 10, and it's not good to propagate that. It's demoralizing for our electorate here that their vote won't count. And we see that now, with the increasing number of undecided voters," Legarda pointed out.

From six percent in February, the number of undecided voters has risen to 9%, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.

According to Legarda, what poll officials pertain to when they say 30% failure of automated elections is the automatic transmission of the ballot, and not the elections itself. "We have crafted the law providing for automated elections, and mandated that 100% of the transmission and counting of ballots should be automated. Voting, of course is still a manual activity. It's the transmission and counting that has been automated," explained Legarda.

She urged the COMELEC to name the precincts where voting will be manual all the way, i.e., those where counting and transmission will be manually conducted, so that everyone would be more vigilant in guarding their votes. "In our camp for instance, we will deploy more poll watchers in areas where the counting and transmission remains manual," said Legarda. Legarda also called on COMELEC to increase its efforts in educating voters about the automated elections, because an informed electorate is crucial towards ensuring the credibility of the outcome of this year's elections.

"The validity of the national elections is crucial in maintaining the political stability in the country. We have to assure people that their vote has been counted and that they really took part in deciding who our country's leaders will be," said Legarda.

She also said that it is unproductive to start ranting about how everything should have been automated, and to scare people into thinking that there would be a no election or failure of elections scenario.

"We are one nation, and we must move forward together. And one step forward from all the political hulabaloo we are in right now is by electing a new set of leaders, as mandated by the Constitution. The baseless conspiracy theories should stop. It does not help anyone but those that cook them up," said Legarda.

"We have less than thirty days before the elections, and by hook or by crook, we have to make sure that first, elections will proceed, and second, that it will conducted fairly and honestly," Legarda said.

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