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Manual audit of 2019 polls can verify reports of discrepancies – Lente

/ 01:53 PM May 15, 2019

Random manual audit of the 2019 midterm polls. Photo By Gabriel Pabico Lalu/INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines — The Random Manual Audit (RMA) of the 2019 midterm elections can verify reports of discrepancies between the actual votes and the receipts, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) said on Wednesday.

“Isa sa mga ma-aaddress nito is ‘yong issue na iba ‘yong lumabas don sa resibo don sa binoto nila.  Kasi doon ang problema doon si ‘yong pagbibilang ng makina eh,” Lente Executive Director Rona Ann Caritos told reporters.

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“So dito mapapakita natin kung paano magbilang ‘yong makina,” she added.

After the polls last Monday, several netizens took their frustration to social media on how receipts from vote counting machines (VCMs) allegedly showed names of candidates that they did not vote for.

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According to Caritos, if Lente — which was accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as its partner — registers differences in the transmissions from the VCMs and their manual count, candidates may use it as basis for a probe.

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“Iba ‘yong RMA data sa data na kailangan for election protest.  Pero in the area na kasama sila, maaari nilang gamitin as a basis for further investigation,” she explained.

Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia who is in charge of the RMA also clarified that the results of the RMA cannot be used as sole basis for poll protests.

“It cannot substitute for an election protest.  Kung may question kayo (candidates), the only reliable basis to question will be to revisit at the ballot at the protest level.  You cannot do that by sampling, particularly kung ang sampling mo is one per legislative district,” Guia said.

“Hindi siya magiging conclusive.  How can you make a conclusion let’s say sa result ng congressional contest sa isang distrito kung isa lang ‘yong sample mo?” he asked.

The RMA for the recent polls started at around 9:00 a.m., at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.  Guia said results from 715 polling precincts nationwide will be used as reference.

“What this will do kasi is just to say on a whole, on a national basis whether there was systemic failure, systemic cheating, or systemic discrepancy in the (elections),” Guia said in an ambush interview.

“Medyo broad ‘yong conclusion.  So ‘yong likelihood na that happened, ‘yon lang ‘yong makukuha natin, pero hindi with certainty na malalaman natin,” he added.

Guia also allayed fears that sampling the 2019 elections through 715 precincts out of more than 85,000 is not enough to spot possible errors.

“To determine that there were systemic error, we were advised that it’s enough.  The requirement is that all legislative districts should have a sample.  So buo ‘yan, all 416 legislative districts should have one,” he noted.

According to Guia, if discrepancies are noted, the RMA team will forward it to a technical evaluation committee which may launch a probe.

“We will refer that to the technical evaluation committee then they will do a root cause determination of what happened.  So the random manual audit project is just to determine whether there are discrepancies, they’ll make an investigation,” Guia said. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)

READ: Lente to replace Namfrel as Comelec’s partner for random manual audit

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TAGS: Comelec, Commission on Elections, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, Lente, Philippine news updates, Random Manual Audit, RMA
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