Women leaders bare own matrix for May 13 polls
An alliance of women leaders and organizations that monitor election fraud and violence on Friday presented its own matrix for the May 13 polls linking “democratic, transparent, accountable, credible and peaceful” elections.
The Babae, Bantayan ang Eleksyon (BaBaE!) Network fears that the vote-counting machines (VCMs)—formerly known as PCOS (precinct count optical scanner)—still lack the basic safeguards to ensure accurate vote-recording and -counting.
The group said this could disenfranchise millions of voters, as the Commission on Elections refuses to conduct a “genuine source code review” of the machines.
The network includes Kontra Daya, Workers’ Electoral Watch, Automated Election System Watch, and National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel).
“Protecting the elections is not easy, especially when cheating, vote-buying and political violence have become a norm. Collective effort is a requirement,” said Mary Joan Guan, executive director of Center for Women’s Resources and convenor of BaBaE! Network.
Among the irregularities observed by the network during the conduct of final testing and sealing in some key polling places in Manila and Quezon City were difficulty in initializing VCMs, paper jam during the printing of election returns and defective voter registration verification machines (VRVMs).
The poll watchdogs said one out of 15 VCMs is potentially not working, which could disenfranchise around 3 million voters.
Cora Ignacio of Namfrel also cited among last-minute election woes the “untimely and unnecessary” pilot of the VRVMs in 14 vote-rich cities and provinces.
The areas include Manila, Quezon City, Davao City, Pangasinan, Cavite, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Sur, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Caloocan City, Iloilo, Nueva Ecija and Misamis Oriental.