Comelec sees more electoral protests

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MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expecting more electoral protests this year compared to the last automated election in 2010 but not as many as they used to receive during the days of manual counting.

“In 2010, we had a total of 96 electoral protests, but we expect more this time,” said Betty Pizana, director of the Comelec’s Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (Ecad), citing glitches in some precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

Pizana said they expect to start receiving complaints or protests from candidates around 10 days after the canvassing of votes or the proclamation of winners.

“As of now we have not received any, but we expect an influx in the coming days,” she said.

In the past, cases filed included electoral protests and petitions for annulment of proclamation.

However, Saga Mabaning, chief of the Comelec’s Judicial Records Division, said they do not expect the number of cases to exceed those which they handled prior to the 2010 elections when manual process of counting and canvassing was used.

“The automated election system actually helps prevent the influx of electoral protests. Many people think the manual system was easier to manipulate,” Mabaning added.

Mabaning said the filing fee for an electoral protest costs P10,000 but a complainant may spend half a million pesos for the litigation process.

“Actually, what is really expensive are the lawyers’ fees. But apparently, this doesn’t stop some candidates from pursuing cases to appease or satisfy their constituents or supporters,” the poll official added.

Meanwhile, workers led by Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the conduct of last Monday’s elections, saying the poll was marred with numerous disruptions and “massive cheating.”

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