MANILA — Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesman James Jimenez has said “it is acceptable to have manual polls than not to have elections” at all, stressing that they will do all they can to have elections next year.
“Negative. Hindi natin papayagan na mag-no election. As we always say, ayaw natin ng manual and yet for all of that, mas gugustuhin pa namin ‘yung manual kesa no election,” he said in an interview.
The poll body official explained that the law states that the country has to conduct elections, adding that the “no-election” scenario is unacceptable for both the Comelec and the electorate.
“Ang sinabi ng Constitution, magkakaroon ng halalan every second Monday of May every three years for all positions below president and every six years for president, so that’s what we follow. If we postpone that even for one day, that’s no-el na, so it’s not acceptable,” Jimenez said.
However, he added that although they are looking at the manual polls as an alternative, it is not their priority.
“We have to do this. It’s not in the books that we are willing to go back to manual polls or that we are willing to allow that to happen. Ayaw nating bumalik sa 100 percent manual,” Jimenez said.
He added that it is still possible that they will be holding a public bidding for the repair contract of the more than 81,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.
“Ang pinaka-obvious kasi, ‘yung usapin na ipa-bid na lang natin ‘yung refurbishment. So possible pa din ‘yun,” said the poll body official.
Other options being looked into are the use of the 23,000 Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines and the Transparent and Credible Election System (TCrES).
Jimenez said they have not yet received the SC ruling and they will know what they will do next after they read the decision.
“As soon as we get the decision, then we will determine thereafter what our Plan B actually is,” he said.