Newly appointed Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista (left) and commissioner Rowena Guanzon face the media at the COMELEC office in Intramuros, Manila on Monday. Bautista was the chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) prior to his new assignment.  (MNS photo)

Newly appointed Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista (left) and commissioner Rowena Guanzon face the media at the COMELEC office in Intramuros, Manila on Monday. Bautista was the chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) prior to his new assignment. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Malacañang on Saturday voiced hopes the Supreme Court can resolve soonest the cases challenging the automated elections for May 2016.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte also defended the Commission on Elections’ drive to encourage voter registration in malls.

“Considering there are many petitions against the process at least of the contract the Comelec is trying to procure para sa 2016, we’re hoping these issues can be resolved to enable Comelec to continue to prepare for peaceful and orderly elections in May 2016,” she said on state-run dzRB radio.

Earlier this month, election watchdogs filed a petition before the high court, asking it to stop the Comelec from qualifying Smartmatic in a bid for the lease of 23,000 optical mark reader vote-counting machines.

Last June 29, the Comelec had said a joint venture by Smartmatic TIM Corp., Total Information Management Corp., has “the lowest calculated responsive bid” for 23,000 OMR units.

It was the third petition filed before the high court against the Comelec’s efforts to ensure automated elections in May 2016.

Meanwhile, Valte disputed criticisms that the Comelec may be focusing too much on mall registration, saying there are 3.8 million Filipinos who have not had their biometrics taken yet.

“Considering there are 3.8 million Filipinos who do not have biometrics, it’s certainly a worthy cause on the part of the Comelec to try to get people to vote,” she said. (MNS)