May 7, 2010
“Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverb 14:34)
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), the largest aggrupation of mainline Protestant and non-Roman Catholic churches and service institutions in the country, exhorts its members and the general public to be doubly vigilant as the first automated electoral exercise is held in the country.
The Automated Election System Watch (AESWatch), which counts the NCCP among its members, had for months raised the issue of putting safeguards to the system. AESWatch raised the concern following the so-called 30 vulnerabilities of the AES uncovered by the Center for People’s Empowerment in Governance (CENPEG). On our own, we have produced a Primer for Voters’ education used intensively by our constituent member churches in their voters’ education seminars. The primer underlined vigilance against any threat to the electoral process including but not limited to extensions of terms and return to military rule. Along with equally minded organizations, we have sought the presence of our partners abroad to observe the electoral process.
In a couple of days we shall troop to the polls to choose our leaders. Events in the last few days have proven the fears expressed by AESWatch and other groups. The concerns, dismissed earlier by the Commission on Elections as coming from doomsayers and saboteurs, are with basis. The recent failure of the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines to properly account for the test ballots is an indication. All the more reason for us to be alarmed.
Our call for vigilance is primarily intended to prevent wholesale electronic cheating. We are as concerned as anybody else with a credible election consistent with the respect to the right of suffrage and for this exercise to be an instrument in improving the lives of the people. Systematic fraud will subvert democracy as it subverts the people’s will.
Let us pray fervently and work vigorously that the result of this election will truly reflect our choice. Where there is rampant cheating and violence let us expose it. Where there is mockery let us denounce it. Our people power will not be for any candidate but for the people’s interest and welfare. These and the peaceful transition of power, are our duties as citizens and Christians. All in all, they are our best option.
Go and vote and guard your vote! Vote for political parties, party list groups and candidates who have proven themselves as championing the cause of poor farmers, workers, urban poor, indigenous people, youth, women and all marginalized sectors. Vote for them who will proudly raise our sovereign flag and pursue genuine national development and the positive transformation of our society.
Go and vote in the love, peace and service of the Lord! (Bulatlat.com)
Rev. Fr. Rex RB Reyes, Jr., General Secretary
Bishop Nathanael P. Lazaro, Chairperson