Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia (Screengrab from Laging Handa briefing)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is open to the possibility of the country adopting a hybrid election system.

Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia said Thursday he sees nothing wrong with the next national elections being held partly manual and partly automated.

"My personal position on that, ever since I was a practitioner (of election law), is that I support hybrid elections. I even participated in the past Senate committee hearings on that matter," he said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Garcia, meanwhile, believes that such an election system will be more transparent.

"Maaaring magkaroon ng delay ng isang oras hanggang isang oras at kalahati, pero at least makikita ng mga mamamayan, hindi lamang 'yung result dun sa (vote counting) machine, kundi nakikita nila 'yung mga balota nila ay binabasa at nakikita ng watchers na 'yung mga balotang binasa ay 'yun ang mismong na-canvass sa araw ng eleksyon (It may cause a one to one and a half hour delay. But at least, the people will see not only the result from the vote counting machine, but they will see that their ballots were read and the watchers also see the ballots being read and their votes are actually canvassed on election day)," he added.

At the same time, Garcia is hoping that a bill seeking the implementation of hybrid polls will be fine-tuned by lawmakers and enacted into law.

During the 18th Congress, Senator Imee Marcos pushed for the adoption of a hybrid election system.

Under then Senate Bill No. 7 or the Hybrid Election Act filed in July 2019, the system will entail the manual tallying of votes at the precinct level to ensure that all vote counting is held in full public view and is open to video recording and live streaming for future fact-checking.

Under Republic Act 9369, the poll body is mandated to implement an automated election system.

The Comelec has used an automated election system, the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS), and the Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) in national and local elections held from 2010 to 2022. (PNA)