Sen. Chiz Escudero on called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to make sure that safeguards are in place to prevent automated cheating in the 2010 elections.
“After nine long years of mal-administration, our country cannot afford to have a failure of elections next year. If that happens, our people will completely lose faith in the electoral process,” Escudero, who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Electoral Reforms and the Oversight Committee on the Automated Electoral System, said.
The senator, who was among those who voted against the P11.3 billion supplemental budget for the full automation of the 2010 general elections, issued the statement after Malacanang said the bill would be signed this week.
Escudero said that during the hearings the Comelec failed to answer basic questions on how it would implement the poll automation project.
“I voted against the supplemental budget because the Comelec failed to say how they will spend the 11.3 billion. They still don’t know what they will buy,” he said.
“This is the single, biggest contract in government right now. Maybe this is why so many people are pushing for immediate automation without even knowing how it will work,” Escudero added.
Escudero also asked how the Comelec will deal with the expected long list of candidates from the presidential to the city and municipal councils and the possible mistakes of voters in filling up the ballot.
The opposition senator also said that the Senate oversight committee will now focus and closely monitor the way the Comelec will spend the funds and implement the unprecedented plan to hold the country’s first fully automated election.
“We cannot take chances. We have to remain vigilant to the very end,” Escudero said.#
CHIZ: LOOK FOR SPORTS CHAMPIONS IN GRASSROOTS COMPETITION
Catanduanes - Senator Chiz Escudero on Monday urged sports organizations to pan for gold in athletic competitions held at the grassroots level, which he described as a rich but neglected source of homegrown talents.
Speaking before participants of the Palarong Bicol at the Catanduanes Sports Complex, Escudero lauded the efforts of the organizers to reach out to a greater number of Bicolano athletes in search of local and international champions.
“Grassroots competitions can very well be the gold mine in our search for Manny Pacquiaos and Wesley Sos of the future. We are a country of champions and our search for winners should not only focus on the cities but take us to the very remotest barrios as well,” he said.
Escudero, a Bicolano himself, said although the search for future international medalists should not be limited to local talents, the government however should scout for potential champions among our homegrown athletes.
“Instead of fixing our eyes abroad for Filipino athletes, it would be better to focus our attention to the provinces, although we should not discriminate against Filipinos excelling in competitions in other countries,” the senator said.
The provincial government of Catanduanes is this year’s host of the Palarong Bicol 2009, which would be held from March 22 to 28. Athletes come from participating schools in the six provinces of Bicol, which are Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Sorsogon and Catanduanes.#