Namfrel pullout as citizens arm for May polls ‘not an easy matter’ for Comelec
MANILA, Philippines — The decision of National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) to decline its accreditation as citizens’ arm in the May 13 elections is “not an easy matter” for the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez admitted this Friday after the poll watchdog announced its pullout from the midterm elections, citing the poll body’s denial of its request for full access to information and data.
“Obviously, it’s not a simple matter; it’s not an easy matter for the Comelec to be in this position where you have a partner pulling out. So we will do everything we can to address this situation,” Jimenez said in a press briefing.
The Comelec official cited how Namfrel’s pullout may affect the random manual audit, of which the poll watchdog serves as the lead partner.
“That’s something that needs to be looked at. In fact, marami na silang trabahong nagawa (they have already done a lot of work) for that. This is not a simple case of ‘kung ayaw mo huwag mo.’ Both sides have to reach out for each other,” he said.
Though the poll body itself has yet to officially take a stand on Namfrel’s Open Election Data project, Jimenez said having two “competing” sources of election data could be a cause of concern.
“If you think about it, one of the main points of automation is that the results come out very quickly and it is coming from a single source. So I guess perhaps one of the concerns, certainly not only the Comelec’s concern, is that what happens when you have two competing sources of election information,” he said.
Namfrel has asked Comelec to grant them access to election data to establish and maintain an Open Election Data Website, where transmission and tabulation of election results will be monitored in an “almost real-time” update. /ee
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