Senator Tito Sotto firmly asks Senator Risa Hontiveros for Comelec’s assurance that Smartmatic is not anymore the provider of the election server. That goes with the digital poll machines too for 2022. He said that the complaints against them are worldwide. In fact, they only exist for fraud, he added. Hontiveros answered that Smartmatic is not anymore in dominion since 2013. However, Sotto is quick to clarify that he intends to ban Smartmatic. He also reminds Hontiveros that Senator Imee Marcos chairs the electoral reforms for 2022. Marcos’ brother, Bongbong Marcos believes that he lost the VP post due to election manipulation of the said company in 2016.
No Philippine Company can Qualify
Hontiveros said that it is not only Smartmatic who qualifies as the supplier for the election automation. But Senator Marcos disputes this because of the two conditions. First, they must be big enough worldwide. Second, they must have at least 2 times experience in the Philippines. Certainly, no Philippine company can satisfy those requirements. Hontiveros then agrees that there’s no Filipino company that can comply to the current guidelines.
Around 65 Million Voters for 2022
Around 65 million voters is the estimate for the 2022 elections. This must be lengthy to facilitate with the manual counting. Therefore, a hybrid election system is ideal. The manual and digital proceedings must merge to discourage fraud. But not to jeopardize the election results as well.
By: Elena Grace Flores
Martial law bitterness works in the past with the presumptive VP Leni Robredo’s debates and speeches. They were able to separate the Filipino voters in their stand. Now, another opposition senatorial candidate and human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno counters his rival Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos’ stance on term limits. He cites his own situation during Martial Law contrary to the many advantages that the country still enjoys at the present time. Marcos insists that instead of the term limit, electoral reforms are needed to assure the people of clean and honest elections.
[VIDEO]: Pabor ka ba o hindi sa pagtanggal ng term limits sa mga mambabatas?
Removal of Term Limits
The two aspiring senators’ debate creates a stir on social media. Comments are more personal depending on which side netizens are on. Marcos and Diokno explain their position on the removal of term limits in the draft federal constitution. The governor said that instead of lessening the dynasty, the surname has become a franchise when the term limits were installed. She said that having term limits gives families an option to pass on their posts from father to “unknowledgeable wives” and “stubborn” children.
Marcos’ Factual Basis
Marcos cites the October 2011 study of Pablo Querubin at Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies in her arguments. She claims that the “Political Reform and Elite Persistence: Term Limits and Political Dynasties in the Philippines” study proves that having term limits is ineffective. Instead of just 67 percent of elected officials with similar family names, it rose to 91 percent. She adds that term limits hinder the plans of elected officials.
Diokno’s Emotional Stand
Diokno’s father, the late Sen. Jose “Pepe” Diokno, was detained during the Martial Law period, opposes this stance of Marcos. He did not mention the name of Imee’s father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, but alludes to him during his rebuttal. He asks if the people already forgot his bitter experience.
Electoral Reforms Needed
Marcos’ alternative measure for the removal of term limits is electoral reforms as per the campaign of Atty. Glenn Chong. She helps in the research for the new Sanggunian Kabataan format that contains the first anti-dynasty provision. Under the said provision, Marcos explains that those with “second degree of civil relations, consanguinity and affinity” would not be allowed to run. Marcos also calls for studies on electoral reform and the real definition of a dynasty.
The House of Representatives approves on third and final reading its version of a federal constitution that scraps the term limits for members of the lower chamber and other local officials. Senators only have two terms while House members have a three-term tenure. Marcos’ idealism supports the advocacies of Atty. Chong and Toti Casino who disclose Smartmatic’s digital fraud that favors Robredo. Bongbong Marcos’ electoral protest is still ongoing.
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