Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to seize the country's quest towards electoral greatness by preparing well for a successful nationwide automation of the May 2010 presidential elections.
Gordon, author of Republic Act (RA) 9369 or the amended Automated Elections System Law, said there is so much at stake towards achieving electoral greatness and it rests upon the poll body to ensure that the poll automation goes smoothly.
"With poll automation underway, we have already won half the battle in the fight against wholesale poll cheating that has marred every election in this country," he said.
"Considering its (automation) importance, the Comelec should prepare and prepare well, make sure that it has all bases covered so as not to give poll manipulators even a minute chance to derail any part of the planned automation," he added.
Gordon made the call in the wake of reports that this early, political operators are already toying with strategies to sow confusion in the local races that could affect the outcome of the presidential, vice presidential and senatorial races.
RA 9369 called for the pilot testing of automated election systems in six cities and six provinces prior to its implementation in a national election - the next being the 2010 elections.
The automation of the 2008 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections pushed through and served as a litmus test for the country's capability to adapt to the election automation under RA 9369.
Local and international election observers hailed the success of the ARMM elections which indicated the people are ready for an automated election system to put an end to wholesale cheating that has marred past elections in the country.
Gordon called on non-government organizations, such as the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), to their share in ensuring that the country would make a historic shift in election management by serving as the people's "guiding light."
"Why don't we show light today? We will have automated elections in 2010, and we need to prepare and guide our people," he said.
The senator also stressed the necessity for a massive voters' education campaign that would ensure the failure of any attempts to sow confusion among the people which are aimed at preventing the implementation of a genuine electoral reform.
"We should have education campaign, and all should participate in that. We should try to test it (automated elections) in schools since this is going to be an automated election for the first time in the history of our country," he said. (30)