"The Comelec is treading on dangerous ground. This option is fraught with possible legal and technical problems," he said.
"It is very clear that if there is no joint venture, then no one will sign the contract," said Escudero who co-chairs the Congressional oversight committee on poll automation.
Comelec chair Jose Melo has suggested the poll body could work with the Barbados-based Smartmatic, Inc. in conducting the machine count after its local partner, Total Information Management (TIM), withdrew from the joint venture.
Escudero, said the Comelec still has time to implement poll automation in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as mandated by RA 8436 or the amended poll automation law.
"That is what is mandated by the poll automation law. If they had done this in the first place, then we won't be faced with all these problems," he said.
"What is important, as I have always stressed, is that the elections – manual or automated – are clean, honest, transparent, and accurately reflect the will of the people," he said.