Comelec set to deliberate on the automated election system to be utilized in the 2016 polls on Wednesday

MANILA, Aug. 19 (PNA) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to convene and deliberate on the Automated Election System (AES) to be utilized in the 2016 elections after the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) submits its recommendation on Wednesday.

Commissioner Christian Lim said they will discuss the recommendation of the CAC headed by Chairman Louie Casambre on what technology to be used in the forthcoming national and local elections.

“The CAC has a schedule with us on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to formally present their recommendations as well as to answer our questions regarding their recommendation,” said the head of the Comelec–Steering Committee for the 2016 elections.

Earlier, Casambre revealed that they have recommended to the commission en banc to use again the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and another voting technology as a secondary AES.

On the other hand, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said they are not compelled to approve the recommendation of the CAC on the technology to be used in the May 2016 polls.

“Remember, they (CAC) are recommendatory only. We are not compelled to accept the CAC’s recommendation,” he stressed.

Brillantes noted that under Republic Act No. 9369 or the Poll Automation Law, the Comelec en banc does not need to follow whatever is the recommendation of the CAC on the AES it will use.

Section 9 of R.A. 9369 states that the CAC is tasked to recommend to the Comelec “the most appropriate, secure, applicable and cost-effective technology” to be used in the conduct of elections.

Meanwhile, Section 1 of the law provides that the commission has the authority to “prescribe adoption and use of the most suitable technology” for the elections.

But, the poll chief said that they will look at the CAC’s opinion just like in the two previous elections.

“We will thoroughly study their recommendation because that will be the basis… they are technical people,” Brillantes added.

He said that the total budget available for automation, compatibility of the technologies with the old machines, and being user-friendly of the system are among the factors they will be considering. (PNA)