Electoral Board convenor on manual voting in 2016: more resources, manpower needed

DUMAGUETE CITY, April 27 (PNA) — Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela, convenor of the Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB) of the Diocese of Dumaguete, has expressed concern over the need for huge resources and additional manpower in the event of a manual election in 2016.

Msgr. Heruela issued his reaction Monday to recent news reports quoting retired Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chair Sixto Brillantes on the possibility of manual voting in the May 2016 polls after the Supreme Court had rejected a contract amounting to Php 268.8 million for the repairs of some 82,000 automated voting machines.

The impact on the return to manual voting next year may well be largely on the additional huge requirements for resources and more volunteers, said Heruela, who has had previous experiences in manual elections as well.

“We need larger manpower and more resources if that is the scenario, most especially after the voting ends and the counting begins”, the priest said.

Msgr. Heruela also expressed the need to revisit the procedures on manual elections, especially for the teachers in the Board of Election Inspectors, poll watchers and volunteers, but he feels confident this can be done.

He urged more young people of voting age to sign up as volunteers for the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) at the earliest time possible.

Between manual and automated balloting, the Diocesan Electoral Board convenor said he personally believes a manual election has more credibility although it is more tedious.

Referencing to previous manual voting, Heruela pointed out that it was then easier for the people to check the election results and have them verified even at the local or provincial level.

In the automated version, the priest pointed out the many issues, controversies and questions raised against the Precint Count Optical Scan machines, on top of the procedures in the ballot counting.

He also said he personally believes that for as long as there is tight security and vigilance in transferring the ballots and the election results from the precinct level to the local and provincial levels all the way to the national level, there will be “credible” results.

The automated machines and the automated system of voting have drawn flak since introduced in the previous elections with so many issues and controversies surrounding them that have not even been addressed to date, Heruela said. (PNA)