Press Release
May 8, 2023

Pimentel to Comelec: Be practical

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to rethink its so-called "wish list" for the 2025 automated elections, saying that excessive and unnecessary expenses can drive up the price tag of the 2025 midterm elections.

The poll body had recently presented to the public a list of expenditures that it plans to procure in preparation for the midterm elections.

But Pimentel described some of the items in the Comelec's 'shopping list' as wasteful spending of taxpayers' money.

"It will only increase the elections' price tag which, given our tight fiscal situation, we cannot afford. Let's avoid unnecessary expenditures and make do with what we have to save on cost," Pimentel said in a statement on Monday.

"The Comelec might want to reconsider its 'shopping list' for the 2025 midterm elections on account of our growing budget deficit, tremendous debt burden, and high inflation. Ang bawat piso na nakapaloob sa proposal ng Comelec ay dagdag utang ng gobyerno na sa huli ay taumbayan ang magbabayad," Pimentel said.

"It is the time to be practical. We have no need for specialized items such as stamping pens when an ordinary marking pen could work," the minority leader emphasized.

"Magkano ang gagastusin natin dito? Saan kukunin ng Comelec? Sino ang supplier?" he asked.

Pimentel also appealed to the Comelec to stick to one automated election system and not adopt a different system for overseas voting. "The DRE system being proposed for overseas voting will only unnecessarily add to the cost. There will be a different supplier of the hardware and the consumables will also most likely be different. We will not be able to take advantage of economies of scale. There will also be additional source codes and other software to review," Pimentel said.

The Senate chief fiscalizer said the Senate should scrutinize the proposal at the appropriate time.

"Comelec must ensure that elections are conducted in a transparent and efficient but cost-effective manner," he concluded.

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