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The AFP And PNP Tagged The ‘Saviors’ – From The Frying Pan To The Fire?

September 15, 2009

failure of elections pdi philstar fnn montage

A story normally needs at least two legs to stand.

When it has three then it certainly merits more than a cursory look.

One also considers the standing, the credibility of the sources.

So it was when Sen. Juan Pone Enrile, the Senate President no less, warned about the dire outcome should next year’s elections fail.

I was there at the Kapihan Sa Manila Hotel news forum and JPE’s take stirred me from quiwtly sipping me iced coffee.

Enrile said it would have to be the uniformed services: the Armed Forces and the PNP, that would have to put a transition (read: Emergency) government in place if the May 10, 2010 balloting goes kaput.

His words:

The the military and the police might end up taking temporary control of the country if there would be a total failure of elections in 2010 resulting in a power vacuum.

The only authority that you have are those with guns because they are the most organized people in the bureaucracy, They are “permanent institutions” and the only ones who could “control the country at that point.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) must make sure that there would be no failure of elections as the country moved into poll automation.

Be sure you have a back-up, manual back-up.

Without casting doubt on the ‘professional’ sorientation of the two organization, the good Senate President’s matter-of-fact scenario sends chills down my spine and conjures the snapsot of a militsry junta taking over the reins of government!!!

You know what takes the cake?

The  follow up warning from a non-politician, Joey De Venecia.
The guy who slew the bribe-ridden NBN-ZTE ‘dragon, the mother of all scams.
De Venecia told this writer:

The Comelec should conduct a time and motion study first before taking such a gung ho attitude to automation.
I’ve conducted informal studies on this matter alone and they indicate that it may take up to ten times longer for every voter to complete the voting process.
Since the number of voting precincts will be reduced, there will be more voters massing in them next year.
From more than 200,000 voting precincts in the past – usually the nation’s public schools – the number will be reduced to 80,000. This means that the number per precinct will increase threefold.
Then there is the new ballot.
The Comelec’s newly-designed ballot is double sided and will have some 300 names of candidates to choose from unlike in the past wherein the voter only had to fill in the names of his choice of president, vice president and 12 senators.
The time it will take to fill in the ballot will likewise increase substantially.
If it took a minute to complete one’s ballot before, it will now take three or even four minutes, given the new form that the electorate is not used to.
Under an informal time and motion study conducted by de Venecia, the typical voter will have to look for his new precinct, join a much longer queue, then fill in a type of ballot that he has never seen before.
Everything points to a chaotic May 2010 election.
I don’t want to seem like some kind of prophet of doom, but the chaotic voting day scenario could lead to a failure of elections. What this can lead to is anybody’s guess.
I believe full automation should first be applied only in the National Capital Region. He said if voting goes smoothly enough in Metro Manila, then full nationwide automation can be applied in the barangay elections in the latter part of 2010.
There are so many things that can go wrong, not just the extra long hours it will take for every voter to finally cast his ballot.
The voting machines need to be manned by 47,000 trained technicians, but Smartmatic, the foreign company which won the bid to automate the elections, “is an IT firm and not a recruitment agency. Where will they find 47,000 qualified technicians?
I am concerned that the results would be forwarded to the Comelec headquarters in Manila electronically, meaning through Smart, Globe and possibly Sun, the country’s three major telcos.
In far-flung areas, or in areas where the three companies have insufficient signals, the results would have to be forwarded through satellite bounce. Systems loss could alter the results of the presidential elections in a tight race. The same would be true for the senators fighting it out for the ninth to 12th slots.
A two percent systems loss for the country’s 40 million voters translates to 800,000 votes not being properly counted.
At worst, chaos on election day could be used as an excuse by the Arroyo administration to declare emergency rule, even martial law.

Hearing that, my iced coffee got colder, and my throat went dry.

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