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Loren: ‘Failure of elections a real possibility’

January 12, 2010

SEN. LOREN LEGARDA TODAY WARNED OF A POSSIBLE FAILURE OF ELECTIONS IF THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT RELEASE ON TIME THE BUDGET FOR VOTERS’ EDUCATION.
The senator said that while the Commission of Elections is supposed to receive a total budget of between P110 million for voters’ education, less than P35 million is reported to have been released so far to the poll body by the Department of Budget and Management.
“If the Comelec is operating on a meager budget for voters’ education, then it is highly likely that voters will not be sufficiently informed on the mechanics of voting. The result would be total confusion on Election Day, which in turn would lead to a failure of elections,” Loren said.
Loren warned that if the government is deliberately withholding funds for voters’ education, “it may be doing so for a hidden political agenda, which is to declare a failure of elections that could allow it to remain in power beyond its mandated term, through emergency rule backed by the military.”
A failure of elections, Loren said, is “certain to result in political unrest that could even lead to a military take-over and the death of democracy in the country.”
Loren said she is “worried over the seemingly slow pace of voters’ education with a mere four months to go before the actual voting.”
The snail-paced voters’ education campaign, Loren said, “could be part of a sinister plot to make the May elections fail, and thereby keep the incumbent administration in power.”
Loren said that the Comelec should already be waging a pro-active campaign in tri-media to explain to the electorate the features of the automated election.
“While I can understand that the automated system is new and the Comelec is familiarizing itself with how to proceed with it on a nationwide scale, I find it rather odd that it seems to be taking its own sweet time in explaining the system to voters,” Loren said.
The senator said that the Comelec should by now be deploying personnel and resources to the provinces, especially in far-flung areas, to educate voters on the automated system of elections.