Macalintal: Return to manual polls 'an insult'

Posted at 04/26/12 11:09 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal on Thursday said it would be an insult if the country returns to manual polls after automating the 2010 national elections.

Macalintal said the Commission on Elections has plenty of time to automate the polls even if the Supreme Court decides to nullify Comelec's P1 billion contract to purchase precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines from Smartmatic-TIM used in the 2010 polls.

"I think Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes issued the warning about a return to manual polls to push the Supreme Court to immediately resolve the petition to nullify the PCOS contract," he told radio dzMM.

He added that he expects the High Court to issue its decision soon.

"It would be an insult if we return to manual elections. Under Republic Act 8369, the country must automate the national elections," he said.

Macalintal said if the SC decides to nullify the Smartmatic contract, the Comelec should immediately conduct public bidding for the vote-counting machines.

He also noted that Comelec will have to pay more if it wants new machines and technology for the national elections.