Comelec should not continue with its plan to use Internet, election lawyer says

By on August 23, 2015


Commission on Election Chairman Andres “Andy”Bautista cast his votes during the Mock Elections to test the Precinct Automated Tallying System (PATAS) proposed by former Commissioner Augusto Lagman and other IT experts organizations on Saturday, June 27,2015 at the Bacoor National High School Annex, Poblacion, Barangay Tabing Dagat, Bacoor City, Cavite (Avito C.Dalan / PNA)
Commission on Election Chairman Andres “Andy”Bautista cast his votes during the Mock Elections to test the Precinct Automated Tallying System (PATAS) proposed by former Commissioner Augusto Lagman and other IT experts organizations on Saturday, June 27,2015 at the Bacoor National High School Annex, Poblacion, Barangay Tabing Dagat, Bacoor City, Cavite (Avito C.Dalan / PNA)

MANILA — An election lawyer has said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should not continue with its plan to implement internet voting for the overseas absentee voting (OAV) in the May 2016 elections.

Atty. Romulo Macalintal cited the vagueness of the provisions of the “Overseas Voting Act of 2013.”

“Definitely, dapat maghintay ng clear provisions of the law allowing internet voting and its mechanisms,” he said.

The lawyer noted that Republic Act No. 10590 only mentions of the commission being allowed to “explore” internet-based technology for the OAV.

“Hindi pa pwede (even) pilot test lalo na at wala pa silang published rules on internet voting,” Macalintal said.

Section 28 of R.A. 10590 states that due to the peculiarities of the overseas voting process, the Commission may explore other more efficient, reliable, and secure modes or systems, such as internet-based technology, for onsite and remote registration and elections.

Likewise, he said it might be difficult to implement the said system knowing the culture of the elections in the country, citing as an example the concerns on the security of ballots and the real identity of online voters.

“I think it would take time for internet voting in our country to be accepted, knowing, especially, that losers would always cry they were cheated. Thus, they won’t ever trust such a system of voting,” said Macalintal.

Last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) urged the Comelec to implement internet-based voting, at least, for Filipino seafarers.