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No turning back on poll automation - Palace

Manila (10 March) -- Malacañang said that there is no turning back on the full automation of the 2010 elections.

After the expected signing by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the P11.3-billion supplemental budget for poll automation approved by Congress, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the next step would be to ensure that the procurement of the election automation machines pass without any hitches the test of full transparency.

In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Remonde stressed that the "transparency ng government procurement is really one of our principles, one of our programs, so therefore, any move to ensure that there will be transparency in the procurement, especially of… the machines for poll automation,'yun po talaga ang gusto ng Malacanang."

"'Yun po talaga ang gustong mangyari ng Malacanang," he pointed out, adding that "insofar as the details are concerned, such as whether the procurement process should be televised or whatever, let us leave that to the implementing arm, the Commission on Elections (Comelec)."

"But as far as the principle of transparency is concerned,'yan po talaga ang nararapat - at dapat," he said.

Asked what measures the Arroyo administration is taking to ensure clean and credible elections, Remonde said that's the reason "why ang ating mahal na Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ay talagang nanindigan for poll automation."

"Because, precisely, that is really one of the most important concerns of the President. Kasi nga yung 2010 elections, when it becomes fully automated, ma-minimize na yung mga irregularities (kaya) magkakaroon talaga ng honest, orderly and peaceful elections," he said.

Remonde explained that "ang magkaroon ng modern elections ay isang adhikain ng Pangulong Arroyo na dapat suportahan ng lahat ng sambayanang Pilipino because that is central to our democracy."

A fully automated elections will also end once and for all, the Philippine phenomenon where "after the elections, there are only two candidates - the winner and the (others who claim that they were) cheated."

Earlier Saturday, Remonde called on the administration's allies in Congress "to respect and consider the President's position that we want full automation of the 2010 elections."

He issued the appeal after some pro-administration solons proposed a "hybrid" type of elections using both manual and automated processes even after both Houses of Congress had passed the P11.3-billion supplemental budget for the automation of the presidential elections next year.

The Palace had announced that the President would sign the supplemental budget for the full automation of the 2010 presidential election once it is submitted to Malacanang. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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