Press Release
June 30, 2015


Sen. Chiz Escudero warned that the Commission on Elections is treading on dangerous ground with its proposal to use a "hybrid" or virtually manual system of elections next year.

Escudero said that reverting to manual voting system in 2016 would be a step backwards to a process marred by rampant cheating and other fraudulent election practices in the past.

"It's a step backwards after having fully automated elections previously. Returning to manual elections is a cause for serious concern due to its dangerous implications on the country's electoral process," Escudero said.

Escudero said the proposal to conduct combined manual voting and automated counting of votes in the 2016 polls would not only defeat the purpose of computerizing the elections, but could also pave the way for wide-scale electoral cheating similar to what happened during the 2004 presidential elections.

"We cannot afford to have another 'Hello Garci' scandal, which may qualify as the worst electoral fraud in the country's history," Escudero said. "We must, at all times, protect the democratic process of elections."

"Hello Garci" refers to the wiretapped conversation between then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano during the canvassing of presidential votes in 2004.

In that phone conversation, Arroyo was supposedly asking "Garci" to make sure she would lead by one million votes over her closest rival, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.

Escudero, who was then representative of Sorsogon province in Congress, stood as Poe's campaign spokesperson.

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