Poll supervisor confident May 10 polls to push through
By Danny O Sagun
Dagupan City (6 May) -- "We appeal to all sectors na tulong-tulong na lang tayo dito para tuloy-tuloy ang eleksyon sa Mayo 10."
Thus appealed Pangasinan election supervisor Reddy Balarbar during the KBP Forum Thursday at the Philippine Information Agency so that the first automated elections in the country will proceed as scheduled even as he brushed aside suggestions to postpone the exercise.
"Tutuloy kami, we will go by what our officials are saying na tuloy ang eleksyon," he said, referring to the decision of the poll body to proceed with the elections in spite of several calls either to postpone it or to conduct manual counting instead.
He admitted that as an outsider looking in, he also had worries about possible election failure because of the technical glitches encountered during mock polls. "But as Comelec official I have to put up a brave front and be optimistic na tuloy-tuloy ang automated election," he clarified.
Asked of any worst case scenarios, Balarbar said that voting will proceed as scheduled even if the precinct count optical scan machines (PCOS) would not work properly. "If the PCOS machines would be the problem, tuloy pa rin ang botosan. Ang mga balota ay ilalagay sa mga ballot boxes for safekeeping at idetermine later kung kelan nag pagbilang either thru the machines or manual," he said.
He clarified that manual counting could not be done as suggested by some sectors because there were no election returns and certificates of canvass provided for the May 10 polls.
Pangasinan has 2,334 PCOS machines and 1,184 voting centers and with a voting population of 1,621,929, higher by some 200,000 over the last elections, he said.
The election supervisor advised voters to bring with them identification cards in case their identity is questioned and also list of preferred candidates. "Magdala sila ng kodigo para mas mabilis ang kanilang pagboto," he said as he reminded voters not to make unnecessary delays. "Sisitahin sila ng BEI pag magtagal sila, either di nila alam o sinasadya lang nila." He said he did not think that voters would consume more than ten minutes in choosing their bets as expected.
Results, he said, will be known within 12 hours in the city and municipal levels, 24 hours at the provincial level and 36 hours in the national level. Transmission time of votes is about two minutes, he said.
While there may be grounds for questioning the results, he said that arrival and canvassing of results and the subsequent proclamation of winners cannot be stopped.
The forum also had as guests officers of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) Dagupan chapter which works closely with the poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).
Local businessman Ed Poserio ended the forum aired live over Radyo ng bayan DZMQ with a prayer for a peaceful and orderly election. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]