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‘Anyare, Comelec?’ Groups demand answers for various poll issues

/ 01:17 PM May 17, 2019
'Anyare, Comelec?' Groups demand answers for various poll issues

HANDONDECK A Commission on Elections staff member on Thursday sifts through election documents in her corner at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. Days after the May 13midterm elections, the poll body is still being asked to deal with complaints about allegedly preshaded ballots and malfunctioning vote counting machines. —LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines — “What happened, Comelec?”

This was the question protesters asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) when they trooped near the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City where the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) are on the fourth day of canvassing votes for the midterm elections.

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Members of groups like Akbayan, Tindig Pilipinas, Youth Resist, The Silent Majority, and Pwersa ng Pamayanan para sa Voluntarismo at Reporma (PPVR) appealed that the poll body explain various issues, among them the designation of the administration-allied Nacionalista Party as the dominant minority party, the seven-hour vote transmission delay, and the defective vote-counting machines (VCMs) and SD cards.

“Bakit naman ang Nacionalista Party (NP) ang nilagay niyong dominant minority eh kasama ng Hugpong yun eh, unang una si Villar na kasama ni Sara Duterte, tama ba? papano naman naging minority yun?” Lawyer Maria Aletta Tolentino, sercetary general of PPVR, said when she spoke at the protest action.

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The Comelec designated the NP as the dominant minority party, which is entitled to election documents and official watchers in every polling place and canvassing center.

READ: Comelec declares PDP-Laban as dominant majority party; NP as dominant minority 

The NP is led by businessman and former Senator Manny Villar and his wife, re-electionist Senator Cynthia Villar. They are in an alliance with the country’s ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and the regional party of presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

Tolentino further argued that the defective SD cards and VCM may affect the outcome of the midterm polls.

“Sangkatutak ang VCM na hindi gumagana, so ilan kayang botante and umalis sa pila upang umuwi so hindi na yan nakaboto, bakit naman ganon? Eh di kulang pala yung mga VCM niyo, kulang na, depektibo pa, so paano namang mangyayari, pakisagot. Anong nangyari, Comelec?” she said.

READ: 961 VCMs, 1,665 SD cards suffer glitches in 2019 polls — Comelec 

“Eh yung SD? Yung SD card na faulty. Alam niyo po yung SD cards, dun nilalagay yung mga boto natin, eh anong mangyayari kung depektibo yun? Ano palagay niyong mangyayari? Yung boto mo, na-record kaya yan? E depektibo yan,” she added.

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However, Tolentino clarified that the protest action is not meant to impose that there had been an act of cheating in the elections.

“We are protesting not because we are saying that may dayaan, we’re are not yet ready to say that, we are giving the Comelec the benefit of the doubt,” she told INQUIRER.net in an interview after the rally.

But she said that the poll body still owes the Filipino voters an explanation.

“But we want to want them to answer the questions at the back of our mind, which make this election questionable,” Tolentino said.

“Kung hindi nila maipaliwanag ito, papano tatanggapin ng taumbayan ang resulta ng halalaang ito,” she added. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)

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TAGS: canvassing, Comelec, Election 2019, Local news, midterm elections, Philippine news update
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