‘Bar aliens from running automated polls’
BUHAY Rep. Lito Atienza has called for revisions to the country’s automated election system so that only entities wholly owned by Filipino citizens may serve as technology and service providers.
“It is in the country’s best interest that we allow only Filipino citizens to run our AES, and exclude foreigners from having such an extensive influence over our elections,” Atienza said.
“Indeed, we find it ironic that while we’ve prohibited aliens from gaining control of the nation’s highly sensitive sectors such as mass media, telecommunications and schools, we’ve surrendered to a large degree our far more delicate AES to a foreign body,” Atienza said.
Since 2010 the country’s AES has been run by Smartmatic International Corp., a London-based solutions contractor wholly owned by Venezuelan citizens.
The 1987 Constitution restricts the ownership and management of Philippine mass media entities to companies 100 percent held by Filipino citizens.
The Constitution also prohibits foreigners from owning and controlling more than 40 percent of any telecommunications firm or any educational institution here except those run by religious groups and mission boards.
Atienza has also called for stronger safeguards against the tampering of Precinct Count Optical Scanners or PCOS machines.
“In fact, it might be better for the Comelec to reduce electronic operations to the transmission of precinct tallies and to simply revert to the easier-to-verify manual counting of votes at the precinct level,” Atienza said.