Poll integrity doubted; ‘electronic Garci’ feared

The specter of an “electronic Garci” was raised in a forum on Monday in which six of seven presidential candidates feared there would be glitches in the automated elections in May and some suggested going manual as an option.

Only Sen. Richard Gordon was confident the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would do its job.

But even the administration standard-bearer, Gilbert Teodoro Jr., decried “big logistical difficulties” in the Comelec’s implementation of the first nationwide computerized balloting.

Other presidential candidates present in the debate were Senators Benigno Aquino III and Jamby Madrigal, environmentalist Nicanor Perlas, evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Councilor JC de los Reyes.

Sen. Manuel Villar, standard-bearer of the Nacionalista Party, and former President Joseph Estrada were invited but failed to attend due to other engagements.

Perlas proposed a manual-count option in a hybrid balloting, noting that even Germany and the Netherlands scrapped automated elections last year after finding out that a high school student could hack the voting machines.

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