Hang ’em high later, says human rights commission chair
By Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Hang them later.
Veteran election lawyer and Commission on Human Rights Chair Leila de Lima Thursday said now was not the time to hold accountable those who caused the pre-election glitches involving the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
Ensuring the success of the May 10 elections, De Lima said, should be everyone’s priority.
“With the elections mere days away, this is not yet the time to seek to hold accountable those persons whose actions have led to this muddle,” De Lima said at a forum in Manila. “We can discuss this later at a more opportune time.”
“Instead, there is a need to throw our full support behind the current efforts of the Comelec to ensure that the machines and other paraphernalia are ready and in place in time for Monday, and that the voting process will be secure and the results accurate,” she added.
“We are in a race against the clock, as well as a race against those who would use nefarious means to replace the will of the people with their own political ambitions,” she added.
“This is a race we cannot afford to lose,” De Lima said. Failure of elections, she added, was a violation of human rights.
Bishop Efraim Tendero, of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, said he, too, believed that the blame game should come later after the people had helped ensure the success of the elections.
Tendero said his group continued to trust in the Comelec’s capability to pull off the exercise.
He said, however, that the Comelec should also have a backup plan, including complete manual elections, if necessary.
Smartmatic-TIM Corp., the Venezuelan-led consortium that won the contract to conduct the Philippines’ first totally automated elections, is currently replacing the cards in 76,000 PCOS machines after mock elections held earlier in the week produced erroneous results.