Thursday, April 15, 2010

Comelec: Election results in 3 days of May vote
Updated April 15, 2010 07:46 PM

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - The results of the country's first automated presidential poll will be known within three days of next month's poll, a spokesman for the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said Thursday, after business groups said they feared the new system would fail.

The Philippines has brought in the nationwide automated system to replace the laborious manual system that took weeks to tabulate results, but influential business groups have called for a manual count as a backup.

In a statement Wednesday, the Management Association of the Philippines urged the elections commission to adopt a parallel nationwide manual count for the president and vice president to "mitigate, if not eliminate, the skepticism of many about the credibility of the automated election system and the results that it will deliver."

The COMELEC is prepared to shift to a manual count if ballot-counting machines fail to function in up to 30 percent of more than 76,300 precincts nationwide during the May 10 polls, said spokesman James Jimenez.

A failure to elect a successor to President Arroyo by the time she is supposed to step down on June 30 is "almost inconceivable," he said.

"We are looking at two to three days for the release of the national data ... but as far as the proclamation of president and vice president (is concerned), you have to wait for congress," Jimenez told a forum by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

Under the constitution, the Senate and the House of Representatives must convene not later than 30 days after the elections to officially count votes for the president and vice president and proclaim the winners.

Voters also will be electing senators, congressmen, provincial, city and municipal officials on May 10. These votes will also be counted using the automated system.

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