Malacañang: No military takeover in case of total failure of polls
MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s spokesman assured Thursday that Malacañang will not order the military to intervene in case of a total failure of the automated elections.
“Mangyari man iyon ay there are are available remedies sa Comelec, sa korte at Kongreso. May mga remedies na available (Assuming it happens (total failure of elections), there are available remedies available in the Comelec (Commission on Elections), the courts and in Congress. There are available remedies),” deputy presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar said in an interview over ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda.
Olivar said Malacañang is confident that a total failure of elections will not ignite a high level of unrest that “needs military intervention.”
He also reiterated that President Arroyo will step down as scheduled on June 30 even if the new president is not immediately proclaimed because of the failure of the elections.
Despite fears of a complete failure of the automated polls, Olivar said Malacañang is taking the Comelec’s word that it will push through on May 10.
He said he had received an advisory that Comelec has already made an assurance that all compact flashcards needed for the automated polls will be ready “a few hours before elections.”
The Comelec, on the hand, had said that it is also banking on the promise of the Smartmatic-TIM that there is enough time to finish reconfiguring all the flashcards in time for the elections.
Mass Comelec resignation
Comelec Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, who admits he does not know the technical details of the automated election system, said the poll body “thinks” it can push through with the elections on May 10 because of assurances by the Smartmatic-TIM.
If not all of the flashcards are reconfigured on time, Tagle said automated elections in far-flung areas might not push through. He assured that the Comelec is ready to hold special elections in far-flung areas.
He added that all Comelec commissioners, including their chairman, Jose Melo, are willing to resign if the automated elections completely fail.
“Kung talagang palpak at walang magawa at may complete failure of elections ay magre-resign kami (If the automated elections completely fail we will resign),” Tagle said.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal told ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda in a separate interview that the holding of special elections is in violation of the Synchronized National and Local Elections Law.
Macalintal insisted that the Comelec should just postpone the elections for 15 days, which would be enough for the ultimate testing of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) voting and counting machines.
“So we can test the PCOS machines not only for the counting of votes, but also for transmission,” the lawyer insisted.
Macalintal has resigned as President Arroyo’s election lawyer because Malacañang is against his proposal to postpone the automated elections.