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Binay: automation no guarantee for clean election

United Opposition (UNO) vice presidential candidate and Makati Mayor Jojo Binay urged the people yesterday to guard their votes on May 10, saying that computerized balloting does not guarantee a clean and honest election.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is to hold the country’s first automated polls in May under the controversial P7.4-billion contract with Smartmatic, but Binay warned the electorate that election cheats are still out there to rob them of their votes.

“Marami po kasing expectations sa automation na nakakalimutan na ang automation ay para lamang po mapadali ang pagbibilang… at hindi na tayo naghihintay ng linggo o buwan para malaman kung sino ang nanalo,” Binay told a radio interview in Iloilo, “Kaya ‘yung mga pandarayang gagawin bago bumoto… naririyan pa rin po ‘yan.”

The UNO vice presidential bet said some camps would still attempt to buy votes, intimidate voters, snatch ballot boxes, bribe official watchers and even switch results using the computer to ensure the victory of their candidates.

Binay said the discovery of double registration of some 200,000 names in the voters’ list in Mindanao was another testament to the lack of preparation on the part of the Comelec which could be easily exploited by some quarters.

“Talaga pong nakakabagabag ‘yan. It’s really worth to be bothered dahil napakalaking problema ang ibinibigay niyan. Ang nakakatakot lang ay ang sabi ng Comelec na wala nang magagawa diyan kundi bantayan pagdating ng halalan,” the Makati mayor said.

It will be recalled that Binay also raised the possibility of an election failure stemming from the poor performance of the machines during field tests conducted in January and the simultaneous nationwide mock elections held in February.

Observers reported transmission problems, rejection of ballots, failure of some machines to read ballots and long queues during the field tests, among others.

“Kapag napapakinggan po natin itong mga pagkukulang na hindi po napupunan ng ating Comelec, ako po ay natatakot na baka tayo ay magkaroon ng failure of elections dahil malakas din po ang pagnanasa, pagnanais ng iilan na magpatuloy sa ating pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng failure of elections,” Binay explained.#

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