Namfrel: Comelec ‘should be held responsible’ for poll problems

Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2019 08:23 PM | Updated as of May 18 2019 08:57 PM

Should the country revert to manually counting votes? The Namfrel thinks it should. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) sought accountability from the Commission on Elections after technical difficulties marred the midterm polls.

Namfrel national council member Lito Averia said issues such as malfunctioning machines, defective SD cards, and bleeding markers, were preventable.

Averia also cited the unpreparedness of some electoral boards and technical support, as well as the rampant vote-buying activities.

“Despite the training program there were still some who were not able to respond adequately. (The) other problem was the bleed through. Low quality marking pens may have caused machine malfunctions," he said.

"With regards to the procurement of supplies they went for the lowest bid. It is the 4th time automated elections was used, Comelec should be held responsible for the problems.”

Namfrel, meanwhile, said election-related violence and intimidation went down as reported by the police.

However, Namfrel national chairperson Augusto Lagman maintained his stance on reverting to manual counting.

“I have always said the vote counting should not be automated because we lose transparency. There are many countries that switched back to manual counting," he said.

"It doesn’t mean going back to the old manual ha, sa polling center ’yan. All will be automated, it’s only the vote counting. After all, it will only take a day. Why do we need to spend millions? It doesn’t make sense.”

Lagman said he has informed the Comelec of his recommendation but he just got a generic response, saying that it was duly noted.

On possibly partnering with the Comelec in the next elections, Lagman said it does not matter as long as they can function with no problems.

“Nothing should be secret in elections. We have always petitioned for accreditation. If they will do so, then good, if not we just continue our work," he said.

On the upcoming proclamation of winners in the national positions, Namfrel said the Comelec may do so but they recommend only the top 5 or 6 senators.

Based on its servers, Namfrel said about 1.1 million to 1.2 million votes have yet to be counted.