By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 10:49:00 06/25/2010
MANILA, Philippines—The National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) has raised the possibility of inaccurate results in the local election races last May 10, citing initial reports from a random manual audit study that showed discrepancies between the machine and manual count.
Namfrel Chair Jose Cuisia Jr. said the Commission on Elections should immediately release the results of the random manual audit of the votes to assure the public that the polls were accurate.
“While we have assurance that the national election vote is quite accurate, we cannot say the same for the local elections because the random manual audit results, which are designed to test the accuracy of the automated count, have yet to be released,” he said at a recent Namfrel meeting.
He said that it has been more than a month since the random manual audit started on May 10 but the results have yet to be disclosed.
“How well [was this audit] conducted, why has it taken so long, and where are the results?” Cuisia asked.
He said the Namfrel has received reports that there was a 3-digit difference in the election results from at least two areas.
The Comelec should disclose the results of the audit to quash apprehensions that the voting machines had inaccurately read the votes in the local races, Cuisia said.
Namfrel was one of several groups that asked the Comelec to hold a parallel manual count of selected national and local groups to determine the accuracy of the machine results. The Comelec denied the request, saying it was not feasible.
A few days after the elections, however, Namfrel said the new automated election system “worked better than most people’s expectations.”
The Comelec chose to carry out a random manual audit of 1,145 clustered precincts. In the random audit, teachers manually count the votes for president, vice president, congressman, governor and mayor. Their count is then compared with the count of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.