Be positive of automated polls — Palace

PNS — MALACAÑANG yesterday appealed to the voters to think positively about the first-ever automated elections in the country on May 10.

Deputy presidential adviser Prof. Gary Olivar made the appeal following the start yesterday of the poll automation among our overseas absentee voters (OAV) abroad notably in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Olivar stressed that the Palace is optimistic with the holding of a credible, orderly, honest and peaceful elections especially with the measures and preparations being done by the Commission on Elections.

Olivar reacted to persistent doubts of several local folks in the wake of various controversies and scandals plaguing the poll body.

He said that no less than Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento assured him that the poll body has its hands full in addressing allegations of corruption and anomalies including in the ballot secrecy folders and the use of UV lamps, and other issues.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal went to Hong Kong and Singapore to supervise the automated elections. Hong Kong has 95,355 Filipino absentee voters. Singapore has 31,851.

“It’s all systems go here, and we are excited,” Larrazabal said, adding that the members of the Filipino committee and consulate officials in Hong Kong are assisting voters, who he said have started arriving at the Philippine consulate office.

Larrazabal also assured that election officials were equipped with UV lamps to be used to authenticate the ballots. “All teachers and volunteers have UV lamps. When we came here to train the officials, mayroon nang UV lamps dito sa Hong Kong. Kumpleto na definitely,” the commissioner stressed.

Larrazabal said that automated counting will only be done at the end of the voting period on May 10, the scheduled start of the automated elections in the country.

Meanwhile, foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, chair of the department’s absentee voting committee, is hopeful for a high voter turnout on Sunday, as most of the OFWs are on day-off from work.

The Comelec also urged Filipino expatriates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to cast their ballots as the OAV began yesterday morning.