Joey de Venecia III and the 2010 Philippine Elections

Last night, some bloggers and I had an intimate discussion with NBN-ZTE fame, son of Congressman Jose de Venecia of Pangasinan, Joey de Venecia III. I got to the “undisclosed location” a little late and caught them talking about COMELEC, the Automated Elections and his plans this upcoming elections.

To put it simply, Joey de Venecia III confirms, “I am running in 2010 as a Senator,” but dismisses party affiliation, “I do not know under which party yet.” He said that he’ll run under a good and qualified presidential candidate, and adds that, “there are a lot of qualified but not everyone is good.” “Merong isa, kaso nagbackdown na to VP.”

He says that as a Senatorial-candidate, he’ll focus on the LGU Code, focusing on the budget allocation and control of the specific local government units (since they would know the most how to prioritize expenses) and our Debt, which is automatically appropriated, and pegged at 30% of our budget, or more than Php 600 Billion for this year.

And if he’s elected, the first thing that he will do right after he takes his oath is to file cases against Gloria and Mike Arroyo.

Joey de Venecia III and bloggers

Joey de Venecia III and bloggers

Last Friday, Lente (Legal Network for Truthful Elections) of the Ateneo de Manila Law School organized an informal roundtable discussion with election experts like Constitutional commissioner Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, COMELEC commissioner Christian Monsod, and former Supreme Court Justice Ascuna, and others. My professor was lucky and important enough to be in that gathering.

Their discussion focused on three election reform agendas namely a.) Party list system b.) Overseas absentee voting and c.) COMELEC as an intitution.

On the Partylist system, the laws should clearly define what it means to be “marginalized” and “under-represented” sectors. Is it financial, cultural, or whatever? In this case, the fastest way in doing this is by amending RA 7941 or the Partylist System Act, or the Constitution itself. Also, COMELEC must be stricter in granting accreditation to partylists.

On Overseas Absentee Voting, which the deadline of registration has already passed, they saw that it is important to remove barriers for registration and voting. With the advent of internet and technology, one must be able to use the internet, or even by courier, to be able to register and or vote. Also, who can or cannot register under RA 9189 or the Overseas Absentee Voters Act should be clearly defined.

On COMELEC, they said that it would be better to have a “JBC-like body” to screen the possible appointees of the President to the Commission. But then again, you have to amend the Constitution regarding that. Also, they were playing with the idea that COMELEC will be burdened by just administering the elections, while election protests, or the adjudication should be given to the courts and treated as an ordinary case.

They also tackled on issues of automated elections, specifically cheating. Monsod, having worked inside COMELEC said that it is impossible to be hacked externally, the question now is that can it be hacked internally, within COMELEC?

Going back to JDVIII meeting, one thing’s for sure, they all wanted for the COMELEC to implement a national double-track elections, to be able to pilot test the PCOS machines of SmartmaticTIM (which recently was given decision by the Supreme Court by junking petition) and have a more credible-acceptable way to be able to count votes (using paper).

The major challenge right now is for COMELEC to educate all voters on how to use the machine and what is really the process in which one can vote, and it to be counted.

P.S. We’ll be the first country to ever go into a National Automation. Good luck, we’ll be watching!

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