Poe: Manual polls could give rise to more ‘Garci’

LAGUNA — Top presidential contender Senator Grace Poe implored the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to do all it can to ensure the holding of an automated elections on May 9 to remove fears of a possible widespread fraud.

Poe said the mandate of the poll body is not only to see to it that the elections push through, but ensure that it is credible, honest and reflective of the will of the voters.

“Ako’y umaapila kay Chairman Andy Bautista–sapagkat, para sa akin, siya na siguro ang pinakaresonable sa COMELEC–na gawan din ng paraan na matuloy din itong eleksyon. Kung hindi, malaking duda ang mangyayari sa ating proseso,” she said.

Bautista earier raised the possibility of the delay in the pollls to allow the elections body to comply with the Supreme Court ruling on the issuance of voter’s receipt.

Poe said that any disruption in the schedule of the elections could give rise to the specter of the “Hello Garci” incident, referring to the alleged massive fraud in the 2004 election.

The senator’s father, then presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. was allegedly the biggest victim of the massive electoral fraud.

“‘Yung nangyari noong 2004, parang nakikita ko kapag pinayagan natin ang postponement ng election at saka nagkaroon tayo ng manual (counting) ay babalik tayo sa ganoong proseso. Nakakalungkot naman. ‘Di ba sabi nila, tuwid na daan na tayo ngayon?” Poe said.

“Natatakot lamang ako na kapag nag-manual tayo uli o kung ma-postpone ang elections, baka mamaya mamayagpag na naman ang mga katulad ng mga ‘Garci’ na nangyari noon,” Poe added.

The senator played down claims by the COMELEC that its timelines were derailed by the SC decision.

Kalokohan ‘yan,” said Poe, who recently scored a victory over the COMELEC which had canceled her certificate of candidacy for president.

She pointed out that the poll body was under the same situation in 2010 but was able to reconfigure all compact flash (CF) cards within a week. With still over a month to go, she believes the commission has enough time on its hands to comply with the ruling.

“Sa tingin ko mahaba pa naman ang panahon para maayos nila ‘yung kailangan nilang gawin para sa voters’ receipts. Noong 2010, isang linggo lamang na-reconfigure nila ‘yung CF cards. Maraming puwedeng gawin sa panahong nilalaan sa atin,” said Poe, the consistent frontrunner in pre-election presidential preference surveys.#