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Poll bets dared: Bare true assets

A watchdog has asked all candidates, especially those seeking national offices, for their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth  when they file their certificates of candidacy in the interest of transparency.

“This will show their networth before seeking public office,” GOV’T WATCH chairman Raul T. Concepcion said in a statement.

GOV’T WATCH stressed that the Commission on Elections should also strictly monitor campaign sounding as candidates may try to recover their expenses once elected.

Meanwhile, it  urged Supreme Court to fast-track the  resolution of the petition seeking to nullify the Smartmatic-Total Management Information Corp. (TIM)-Comelec refurbishment deal so that the poll body can move forward and prepare for the crucial 2016 presidential elections.

The Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order on the warranty contract between the government and Smartmatic-TIM which brought the repair,refurbishments and recalibration of the voting machines to a halt.

Concepcion said that once the Smartmatic case is resolved, Comelec can immediately resume work on the PCOS machines or pursue alternate automated election technologies.

However, in case the TRO is lifted,  he said  Comelec and Smartmatic should address allegations of past omission of certain requirements prescribed by the Automated Election Law.

“These include the lack of UV lamps that prove the authenticity of ballots, voter verification-paper audit trail that correctly ensures that every vote is counted and enables an independent audit of results, digital signatures that authenticate results and electronic transmission and mandatory source code review that proves the integrity of digital instructions and commands,” said GOV’T WATCH.

It said that Comelec must be prepared to bid, award, and procure alternative technologies such as Optical Mark Reader (OMR) or even automated voting systems that do not require paper ballots.

“There must be a concerted and transparent effort to correct the perceived shortcomings of our automated election system in the few months that remain (before the 2016 national elections),” the watchdog said.

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