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Comelec should use hybrid election system – Sotto


By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III hopes that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will finally use a hybrid election system following President Duterte’s order to dispose of the Smartmatic machines.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sotto said he agreed with the President’s appeal to the Comelec to stop using the vote-counting machines (VCMs) from Smartmatic, and look for a new technology provider that is “free of fraud.”

“[I am] Supportive [of that]. I’ve been saying that since last year,” the Senate leader told The Manila Bulletin a text message Friday.

While he did not question the results of the May 13 midterm polls, Sotto, in a press briefing two weeks ago, said Smartmartic “failed to deliver a credible elections” in 2016.

He referred to his exposes of alleged fraud last year, citing in his privilege speech that there had been an early transmission of votes before the May 9, 2016 national and local polls, among other supposed irregularities.

Sotto feared the repeat of such incident in the 2022 presidential elections.

“Baka maulit ‘yong 2016, eh. Presidential pa, ‘di ba? ‘Wag na. Pili tayo ng iba” he told reporters last May 16.

Sotto on Friday said he will push anew for the adoption of a hybrid poll system for the 2022 national and local elections.

He said the Senate will prioritize the measure in the 18th Congress.

In June last year, he filed Senate Bill 1858, proposing a manual vote counting at the precinct level, and an automated transmission and canvassing. His bill, however, languished at the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation.

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who chairs the joint congressional oversight committee on the automated elections system (JCOC-AES), said he supports the scrapping of the Smartmatic machines and prefers the use of hybrid poll systems for 2022.

“Good point (Duterte’s order to dispose of Smartmatic). I have been thinking along that line, too. We need a new system in 2022. Better if counting can be witnessed at the precinct level,” he told reporters in a separate text message.

READ MORE: Duterte tells Comelec: Dispose of Smartmatic

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