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ARMM mock elections, a success

Manila, July 25 2008.- The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announced that the synchronized mock polls held July 22 and 24 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was a 'resounding success.'

In a press conference at the poll body's main office in Manila, COMELEC Chairman Jose A.R. Melo reported that the mock polls proceeded smoothly in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Shariff Kabunsuan. The exercise in Maguindanao had to be called off until July 24 in deference to the scheduled visit of President Gloria Arroyo to the areas affected by heavy floods in the province.

The COMELEC chief related that the mock polls opened without any problematic incident in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Shariff Kabunsuan and Maguindanao. The voting closed at around noon, and the mock election results were transmitted immediately to the municipal and provincial consolidation centers.

'The mock polls held today in various ARMM provinces was a resounding success. We are optimistic that the scheduled automated elections next month would proceed as smoothly, seeing that the practice run today had practically ironed out all kinks in the system,' Melo said.

The mock election results showed that Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan emerged as the winner for the ARMM Governor with 115 votes or 26.99% of the total votes in the region. Brosnan bested mock candidates Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Sharon Stone, Harrison Ford, Al Pacino and Catherine Zeta-Jones. On the other hand, Celine Dion won as Regional Vice Governor with 105 votes or 25.18% of all the votes cast.

Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate's Panel on Constitutional Amendments and Electoral Reforms and Rep. Teodoro Locsin, chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reform, visited the COMELEC to witness the final consolidation of mock election results in the ARMM.

'The results came in very fast,' Gordon told the COMELEC Chairman and Commissioners. 'Let's pray for this (the success of the ARMM elections). Because not only do we have persons of integrity here in the COMELEC, we now have a modernized system of elections that will make sure our votes are counted. Wala nang panahon ngayon para mandaya' the Senator said.

For his part, Rep. Locsin said: 'It's good to see that the system works.'

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About Smartmatic
Smartmatic is a multinational company that specializes in the design and end-to-end deployment of complex purpose-specific technology solutions. With an unsurpassed technology base, continuous innovation, and quality in processes and results, Smartmatic is organized around three business areas: Electronic voting systems, intelligent and integrated security systems for large enterprises and governments, and advanced solutions for people registration and authentication for a wide range of government applications.

Smartmatic is a privately held company with offices in the US, Mexico, Venezuela, Barbados, Spain, Philippines and Taiwan. It has more than 200 employees worldwide. Its capacity for innovation and wide range of products and services have earned Smartmatic extensive recognition in the technology community worldwide.

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About SAHI

Strategic Alliance Holdings, Inc. (SAHI) is a Philippines's consulting organization engaged in large-scale infrastructure projects. Being in the forefront of public-private partnerships SAHI successfully pioneered Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Build-Operate-Own (BOO) projects in the Philippines and is the country's lead advocate for e-Government implementation. Among Sahi's significant projects are BOO computerization of the Land Transportation Office (LTO-IT Project STRADCOM) and Land Registration Systems (LARES) in the Philippines, Metro Manila Skyway, Second Vivekananda Bridge Tollway (SVBT) in India (in partnership with Larsen & Toubro, Pacific Alliance Group, and Parsons Brickerhoff). SAHI was recipient of IBM Corp.'s System Integrator of the Year Award 2007 for the Philippines.