Shared dream: Credible democratic elections
Speaking on their own authority as shepherds of the people entrusted to their pastoral care, some of my brother bishops have expressed their serious concern over deals that the Commission on Elections has entered into relative to the automation and digitization of the 2016 elections.
Bishops, individually and collectively, have been apprised of the vulnerability of the system. In fact, there have been credible reports about the system’s failures, putting serious doubt on the electoral process. Accurate election results are not only a political concern. They are morally significant as they have to do with the expression of the people’s will and the exercise of fundamental political rights.
We urge the Comelec to be circumspect in respect to deals and contracts on the handling of automated elections, to avoid getting itself into a defensive posture, and, most certainly, to be free of bias toward any particular service provider. I urge our Catholic lay leaders who have the expertise in information technology to constitute themselves as watchdogs and guardians so that the system provider chosen may truly be able to set up a credible, efficient and effective election system.
Catholic universities and colleges with information technology departments should offer their services and, if necessary, recommend the appropriate actions to correct whatever shortcomings there may be in the system.
It is my hope that with openness on the part of the Comelec and with the civic and moral sense of vigilant citizens, we will be able to free the automated election system from the serious doubts that now plague it.
We share this dream together.
We all dream of a credible democratic election process. The duty to protect our democratic system is the duty of everyone. Let us listen to one another. Let us work together for the good of the nation. Credible elections are the stronghold of democracy.
—SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS, Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president
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