In this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with prayer for a restraining order and/or preliminary injunction, petitioners H. Harry L. Roque, Jr., et al., suing as taxpayers and concerned citizens, seek to nullify respondent Comelec’s award of the 2010 Elections Automation Project (automation project) to the joint venture of Total Information Management Corporation (TIM) and Smartmatic International Corporation (Smartmatic) and to permanently prohibit the Comelec, TIM and Smartmatic from signing and/or implementing the corresponding contract-award. They contend the mechanism of the PCOS machines would infringe the constitutional right of the people to the secrecy of the ballot which, according to the petitioners, is provided in Sec. 2, Art. V of the Constitution.
Is the Poll Automation Law unconstitutional for infringing the constitutional right of the people to the secrecy of the ballot?
No. Parenthetically, the contention that the PCOS would infringe on the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot because, as petitioners would put it, the voter would be confronted with a “three feet” long ballot, does not commend itself for concurrence. Surely, the Comelec can put up such infrastructure as to insure that the voter can write his preference in relative privacy. And as demonstrated during the oral arguments, the voter himself will personally feed the ballot into the machine. A voter, if so minded to preserve the secrecy of his ballot, will always devise a way to do so. By the same token, one with least regard for secrecy will likewise have a way to make his vote known.