The Commission on Elections is planning to seek amendments to the 26-year-old Omnibus Election Code to attune it with election automation laws, the latest of which was first implemented nationwide last year. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said recently that most of the provisions of the OEC had become obsolete after the country adopted its first election automation law, Republic Act No. 8046, which provided for the pilot-testing of a computerized voting system for the 1996 polls in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“The voting scheme nowadays is really different. The provisions under the OEC no longer apply. Many [situations governed by the provisions] can no longer happen,” he said. Asked how much of the OEC was no longer applicable or could no longer be enforced, he replied, “At least half.” The Comelec chief said this was the reason the commission would be undertaking an extensive study on how to amend the OEC, officially known as Batas Pambasa 881.
The law was passed in December 1985 during the Marcos regime, when the country still had a semi-presidential, semi-parliamentary system of government. “We are now in the process of proposing a revised OEC. [It will be] more comprehensive and more up to date in so far as the automated system is concerned,” Brillantes said.