No room for e-polls failure

No room for e-polls failure

Summary: I hate to be an alarmist or an agent of gloom, but the fate of the country literally (I detest this word but I'll use it anyway) hangs in the balance with the automated national elections scheduled on May 2010.A failure of elections, as pointed out by various publications and law experts, would result in the Philippines not having a president because all the supposed Constitutional successors are either running for reelection or retiring.

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I hate to be an alarmist or an agent of gloom, but the fate of the country literally (I detest this word but I'll use it anyway) hangs in the balance with the automated national elections scheduled on May 2010.

A failure of elections, as pointed out by various publications and law experts, would result in the Philippines not having a president because all the supposed Constitutional successors are either running for reelection or retiring.

Here's the unique situation that's staring the country in the face: President Gloria Arroyo's term is ending, along with Vice President Noli de Castro's--who, by the way, is not running for higher office.

The third in line is Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who is seeking reelection. The fourth constitutional successor is House Speaker Prospero Nograles, whose tenure will also end as he has finished his three terms as congressman.

The fifth and last line to the presidency is Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who is retiring this May 17, 2010, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Enrile is supposed to have the most viable chance to succeed as president should automated polls fail--but, as mentioned, he's up also for reelection. This is the reason why there was a suggestion earlier for him to resign and allow a fellow senator, whose term will not end this coming elections, to assume the post as Senate chief. Without a president, the country could plunge into mayhem as various forces may exploit the situation to grab power.

This dreadful scenario, of course, is merely hypothetical and would be entirely dependent on the outcome of the computerized elections.

While I'd like to believe that the e-polls would turn well in the end and produce a duly elected president, I have an uneasy feeling that unscrupulous operators would do everything to mess up the process. For instance, what if some bright minds manage to spoil, let's say, by crumpling the ballots, which the counting machines would then refuse to read. Wouldn't that disenfranchise voters and consequently create some sort of chaos?

The delay of the delivery of the counting machines is also not helping allay the fears of those who say the equipment should be thoroughly tested first before being deployed in precincts all over the country.

I agree entirely with Vicky Agorrilla, president of the IT Association of the Philippines (ITAP), who commented to me that the credibility of the local IT industry is also at stake here, since a failure of the automated system would surely give the sector a huge black eye. TIM, the local partner in the consortium that bagged the automaton deal, is in fact an active member of the ITAP. If the proponents make a mess of the project, expect the people to lose their faith in technology, she said.

This, indeed, is a make-or-break situation for us.

Industry Update Two communications guys are reportedly set to leave their posts in the coming months.

Horace Lavides, the long-time "senior manager for media services" of PLDT, is retiring from the company. Lavides is said to be winding up his stint at the carrier and is just a few weeks or months away from retirement.

Over at Hewlett-Packard Philippines, marketing communications executive Francis Chua is also relinquishing his post in the next couple of months to devote himself to his family's business.

Topics: Government Asia, Government US, Legal, Philippines, Tech Industry, Social Enterprise

Melvin G. Calimag

About Melvin G. Calimag

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Association.

Joel D. Pinaroc

About Joel D. Pinaroc

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

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10 comments
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  • No room for failure

    The Chief Justice is not included in the Presitential line of succession, read the Philippine Constitution. Only 3 persons are in line for the Presidential succession: The Vice-President; the Senate President; and the Speaker of the House of Representatvies.
    anonymous
  • RE: No room for failure

    Errata:
    "Presitential" should be spelled as "Presidential"
    "Representatvies" should be spelled as "Representatives"

    My bad.
    anonymous
  • RE: No room for failure

    Marlowe Chica is correct, the Constitution doesn't name the Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court in the line of succession. The author needs to research more on this topic or better not talk about the things he has no idea about.
    anonymous
  • RE: No room for failure

    I stand corrected. You're right, the SC chief justice is not a successor to the president. I may have been confused with the current controversy engulfing the appointment of a new chief justice, who sits as chair of the presidential election tribunal.
    anonymous
  • RE: RE: No room for failure

    Mar-up Chico, what can i say? Thanks for reading my blog :)
    anonymous
  • RE: RE: No room for failure

    CORRECTION AGAIN!!! It's Presidential ELECTORAL Tribunal and NOT Presidential ELECTION Tribunal.
    anonymous
  • RE: RE: RE: No room for failure

    you're a fan :)
    anonymous
  • RE: RE: RE: RE: No room for failure

    Fan? No I'm not.

    I just chanced upon your article while surfing the net, and made a comment after reading your serious error about the presidential line of succession.
    anonymous
  • RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: No room for failure

    wag ka na magkunwari, kilala ka namin. basahin mo na lang sarili mong blog. pa iba-iba ka pa ng pangalan, duwag ka talaga.
    anonymous
  • RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: No room for failure

    What are you talking about? This is my real name. I don't need to hide my identity when i pointed out your error.
    anonymous