SC sets oral arguments on voting receipts
MANILA, Philipines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, March 15, said it is setting oral arguments on the appeal of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against using voting receipts in the May 9 polls.
The SC scheduled the oral arguments at 10 am on Thursday, March 17.
“The argument will be on very limited issues to be contained in an advisory that the court will issue within the day,” the SC said.
Minutes after the SC announced this, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista came out of his office smiling.
"Kami po ay nagpapasalamat sa ating Korte Suprema na binibigyan na nila kami ng pagkakataon na ma-demo at maipaliwanag nga 'yung mga practical, operational, and technical issues sa pag-iimprenta ng resibo," Bautista said in an interview with reporters.
(We are thanking our Supreme Court because they're giving us the chance to demonstrate and explain the practical, operational, and technical issues in the printing of receipts.)
"At sa aming palagay ay talagang magandang pagkakataon ito kasi makikita nila mismo kung papa'no umaandar ang ating vote-counting machines," the elections chief added.
(And in our view, this is really a good chance because they themselves will see how our vote-counting machines work.)
This comes after the SC on March 8 ordered the Comelec to issue voting receipts in the coming elections.
20-hour elections feared
The High Court issued this ruling based on a petition filed by senatorial candidate Richard Gordon and his political party, Bagumbayan, to compel the Comelec to issue voting receipts.
The Comelec failed to comment on Gordon and Bagumbayan's petition and thus partly lost by default. (READ: Why Comelec failed to defend itself before SC: 'We were busy')
This thrust the Comelec into a state of emergency, which, according to the poll body, might force it to postpone the elections or hold manual polls.
Bautista on Sunday, March 13, said the Comelec might need to move the elections to the first week of June due to the SC ruling.
The Comelec has argued that ballots already serve the purpose of voting receipts.
Three previous batches of Comelec members – under former chairpersons Jose Melo and Sixto Brillantes Jr, and current chairman Bautista – have unanimously decided against voting receipts.
The Comelec has said voting receipts can facilitate vote buying, and can also worsen the queues in election precincts.
The poll body, for instance, has said voting receipts can extend the voting period to more than 20 hours.
On top of this, issuing receipts will force the Comelec to cram 5 months of preparations in only 60 days. – Rappler.com
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