Press Release
January 27, 2013

Cayetano to Comelec: Are you truly ready for the
automated May 2013 polls?

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano expressed serious concern over the status of the preparations for the 2013 midterm elections after a series of questions have been raised over the capabilityof the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct a credible automated elections this coming May.

The senator said the issues and topics that will be discussed at the upcoming joint congressional oversight committee on the automated election system (JCOC-AES) hearing will revolve around the integrity of the upcoming elections.

He cited the case of the recent security breach at the Comelec warehouse and the 13-page petition filed by LDLA Marketing urging the Supreme Court (SC) to issue a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the contract and to compel the Comelec to nullify Resolution No. 9600 and award to them the contract for the supply of CF cards as few of the topics to be discussed.

"I will definitely ask them about: (1) Why almost all the Comelec contracts have failed biddings only to be resolved later by having been "negotiated"; (2) Why were the PCOS machines not secured well enough; (3) Why aren't the machines tamper-proof; and (3) And can Comelec assure our people that there is no way that syndicates can worm their way into the polling system again," he said.

The minority leader has been raising the same concerns time and again over what he has dubbed as the three 'crown jewels' of the 2013 national elections: machine, ballot, and transmission.

He also repeatedly warned Comelec that the PCOS machines may be the first target of election operators to tamper since automation has rid syndicates of their ability to operate.

"I cannot stress enough how important it is that they be established as secure and tamper-proof. I have always warned the public that the integrity of the upcoming election is currently at risk given how the Comelec's recent actions tend to show complacency in ensuring a tamper-proof automated one," he said.

Cayetano challenged Comelec Chairman Brillantes to respond to the questions and allegations being hurled against the agency in its preparation for the elections.

"I urge Comelec to openly discuss what happened. In being transparent, we can find unity in addressing the problem and hold those in charge accountable," he said.

"We need the assurance that what happened in the 2004 and 2007 elections will not happen again," he concluded.

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