Press Release
May 11, 2012


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has vowed to pursue more electoral reforms during his remaining term.

Among the electoral reforms he wants to put in place before his term ends next year, he said, are those allowing early voting of media practitioners, and the designation of special ground-floor voting precincts for persons with disabilities and senior citizens who already have difficulty climbing a flight of stairs.

But Pimentel said his "most radical idea, which I admit is a long shot, is the incorporation of the voters' biometrics into the voting machines."

Pimentel explained that "the Board of Election Inspectors will be our first line of defense against election cheating, and it is my hope to make the machines our last line of defense for those who are able to penetrate the first line of defense. The machines will not care or even know who the local warlord is."

Electoral reform is one of Pimentel's key advocacies in the aftermath of his failure to land in the winning column in the 2007 senatorial election despite leading in the early counting of the votes.

Pimentel filed an election protest which dragged on for more than four years. He assumed the post after the resignation last year of Juan Miguel Zubiri following testimony by a credible witness that indeed massive cheating had taken place in Maguindanao that erased Pimentel's lead in the counting of votes.

Pimentel said that apart from pursuing electoral reforms and strengthening local autonomy, he is focusing on three other key areas: justice, youth and OFWs.

The senator from Mindanao told Quezon City officials during last Monday's flag-raising ceremony where he was guest speaker that among his proposed legislative initiatives given his limited term as senator include the "Anti-Chamber Practice Bill", as well as a bill that would reform rather than abolish the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).

Pimentel also disclosed that he would soon file another bill making the retention of the passports of OFWs by their recruiters and employers a form of coercion and therefore a criminal act.

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