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Arroyo to sign poll budget bill ‘immediately’

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Comelec asked to move ‘heaven and earth’ vs fraud

By Joel Guinto, Maila Ager
First Posted 14:22:00 03/06/2009

MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will sign “immediately” the P11.3-billion supplemental budget to automate the 2010 elections, her chief political adviser said.

At the same time, Secretary Gabriel Claudio urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “address the concerns and anxieties” by lawmakers that the automated vote could be tampered with.

“President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will sign the bill into law immediately,” Claudio said in a text message.

Echoing the Palace, Senator Francis Pangilinan said the Comelec should “move heaven and earth” to ensure the success of an automated 2010 election.

Electoral fraud and a botched automation, Pangilinan warned, might create an “unprecedented level of uncertainty and instability.”

“Failure is not an option. We challenge the Comelec to move heaven and earth and ensure that there will be no serious glitches in the automated 2010 elections,” he said in a statement.

Pangilinan feared that a failed poll automation next year might be used as an excuse for adventurists to resort to extra constitutional means to seize power or for Arroyo loyalists to remain in power beyond 2010 by imposing emergency rule.

“The citizens must not let their guard down. We must be extremely vigilant in safeguarding the electoral process,” he said.

“The Comelec must do all it can to ensure that automation succeeds in 2010. Failure is not an option if our constitutional democracy is to survive,” he further said.

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2009-03-06T08:42:17+00:00UTC03bUTCFri, 06 Mar 2009 08:42:17 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

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