A boiling hot international issue nowadays is the upcoming elections in the Philippines which will be conducted on May 10, 2010. The election itself is controversial enough because this time, there are ten presidential candidates, but what is really different about this election is that this is the first time that they will be having the automated elections. The Senate Bill No. 2231 states that the automated election system must be used to ensure transparency, accuracy and credibility.
As the elections are drawing nearer, more and more intrigues are appearing. One, and perhaps the most worthy of worry, is the failure of the PCOS machines.2 Just five days before the elections, the testing of the machines produced wrong results. In the mock elections, there were five votes for a certain candidate, and five votes for another candidate. These ten votes were all counted for different candidates.
Whether the makers of the machine and the administration, headed by the current president who has been accused of cheating in the last elections, are conniving for this, it remains a mystery. People are worried that there might be a failure of elections, and when this happens, the current president stays the president. It has been suggested to have a parallel counting, meaning that aside from the automated counting, there will also be manual counting. This proposal was rejected by the Commission on Elections.
In the Philippines, there are many different groups and religions. Recently, they have announced their support statements. The Iglesia ni Cristo group announced that they will be supporting Senator “Noynoy” Aquino, the son of the late President Cory Aquino (their first woman president).3
Senator Aquino made a statement saying that the Commission on Elections indeed denied their proposal because it might open more venues for frauds and protests.4
The media, being the primary source for most people, definitely plays a big role in this event. They continue to publish survey results, which almost always show that there are only two presidential candidates who are in a battle for the spot. Again, these surveys only show the majority votes in a certain area, but for some reason, they have the power to manipulate the voters.
Some voters will change their votes because their first choice does not show good results in the surveys posted by the media. The media also consistently gives updates on the failure of the PCOS machines. Last April 29, 2010, there was an article saying that the Office of the President also stood behind the decision of the COMELEC, and this made the citizens wonder more if there is indeed a connection between the two groups.5
There have been legal actions already, as the mentioned resolutions of the Senate to the COMELEC, but all have been denied. The reason behind this is most probably the connivance of the administration, the COMELEC, and the producers of the PCOS machines. For me, this is an important issue even though it is happening in a different country.
This shows us the dirty game of politics, and if it is happening in the Philippines, it can happen to any other country, as long as there are corrupt and power-hungry officials. If their elections push through without failure, we will get to see a new era in the Philippines, but if there is a failure of elections, who knows what can happen to their country?
Choosing the next leaders of a country should not be taken lightly, and amidst the issues happening in their country, there are people still hoping for the best results.
Senate of the Republic of the Philippines, 13th Congress, Senate Bill No. 2231, Automated Election System, filed March 15, 2006.
Noynoy Aquino. http://www.noynoy.ph/v3/index.php.
Senate of the Philippines Press Release May 4, 2010.
COMELEC Rejects Parallel Manual Count, April 29 2010, Manila Bulletin.
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