Press Release
April 23, 2009

Gordon laughs off Cayetano's P100-M hack reward

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today laughed off Senator Alan Peter Cayetano's proposal to give a P100-million reward to anyone who can successfully hack the poll automation system for the May 2010 elections.

Gordon, chief author of RA 9369 or the the amended Automated Elections System Law, said instead of making such proposal, Cayetano should just say outright if he is against the automation of the May 2010 national and local polls.

"I am not surprised (the proposal) came from Senator Cayetano. It speaks for itself," he said.

"We have to be serious in this country. He (Cayetano) was a congressman when (the poll automation) bill was approved. Why did he not say that then? Dapat manindigan tayo. Sabihin mo na, ayoko ng automation, edi ayaw mo. Dapat bumoto ka laban dyan," he added.

Cayetano earlier proposed that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) allot not more than P100 million out of the P11-billion poll automation fund and be used as a reward to people who can hack the machines to be used in next year's automated elections.

The proposal was reportedly intended to reveal the weakness of the system and establish that the same is not secure from fraud and tampering.

Gordon, however, said that the nation can never run away from a corrupt system of governance and could not move forward if significant changes, such as the improvement of the electoral management system, are always held back.

"Why can we not try to change the system? Poll cheaters already have PhDs in manipulating results under manual voting system. It is time we effect change," he said.

"Trust but verify. We need to give the automated election system a chance but we have to keep an eye on it. Bantayan natin. Other countries can do it, why can't we?" he added.

Gordon pointed out that 'cheating scholars' would not get the chance to easily carry out their sinister plans of manipulating the elections under an automated system since it would be a different ballgame with a new set of rules.

He also added that under the law, there are at least 16 minimum system requirements to ensure the integrity of the automated machine, along with transparency provisions in the bidding process for the procurement of the machines.

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