Can we say goodbye to automated elections in 2010?
That seems to be the case, as the supplemental budget for the 2010 elections remains pending at the House of Reprehensibles. With three days remaining before the Congress adjourns, passing the budget bill within three days is possible, but it will be a long shot. If the bill remains in its current state after three days, the Commission on Elections will be hardpressed on election automation. The ugliest scenario would be no automation in 2010, which is illegal, as Republic Act 9369 calls for an automated elections in 2010. Or a partial automated elections can be done, and even that might be deemed illegal, as it goes against the same law.
And then there’s the Reproductive Health bill, which I think will suffer the same fate as that of the supplemental budget. As I have said before, it would be a miracle if this bill passes both Houses of Congress, and a greater miracle if Gloria Arroyo signs the law. I think even if the bill is passed, Arroyo will veto it. So the Congress is just prolonging the agony of this doomed bill.
On the positive side, this means the Right of Reply bill will suffer the same fate as the other two. And with principal sponsor Monico Puentevella amending his own bill, three days will not be enough to tackle these amendments. Unfortunately, the Senate has long passed its version, no thanks to Aquilino Pimentel Jr., so we might see this bill pass into law by end of the year.
As of now, the biggest among the three is the supplemental budget bill. On its passage rests the fate of the 2010 elections. Speaker Norberto Nograles and the majority should have prioritized this bill instead of the others (like those unnecessary Charter change resolutions). Maybe the intention after all is to just pay lip service to election automation.
In the end, it is the Filipino people who are screwed up by the Congress’ misplaced priorities.
UPDATE: 03/03/2009 House passes supplemental budget. The ball is now on Senate’s hands.