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Comelec mulls special random manual audit for party-list votes

/ 05:40 PM May 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is studying the petition to conduct a special random manual audit (RMA) for party-list votes in the May 13 polls.

In a petition filed Friday, sectoral groups led by Akbayan Party Chairperson Emeritus Etta Rosales urged the Comelec to include the party-list votes in the RMA.

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Only votes for senators, members of Congress, and mayors are currently covered by the RMA, which started on Wednesday, two days after the midterm elections.

READ: Conduct random manual audit on party-list votes too, Comelec told

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Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said they are currently looking at the request, but he noted that there are some “logistical concerns” that need to be addressed first.

“That’s being considered now, but there are some logistical concerns as well. I’m not sure when a response will be made or what the response will be, but that’s certainly being studied right now,” Jimenez said in a press briefing on Friday afternoon.

In asking for the special RMA, the petitioners cited the alleged discrepancy between the votes in the ballots and the results reflected in the vote verification paper audit trail.

They also cited the supposed disenfranchisement of voters due to defective vote counting machines (VCMs) and SD cards as well as reports of misprinted ballots.

Lastly, the petitioners explained that as members of Congress, party-list representatives are “co-equal with district representatives whose votes are subject to RMA.”

In an interview at the Diamond Hotel where the RMA is currently ongoing, Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia, head of the RMA Committee, mentioned the “resources” needed to conduct an RMA for party-list votes.

“Hindi ko ibig sabihin na hindi pwede gawin pero una hindi ‘yun ang design. Kapag ginawa mo ‘yun imagine mo ‘yun medyo malaki ang resources na kakailanganin,” he said.

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(I do not mean to say that it can’t be done, but the current RMA is not designed that way. If we do that, you can imagine the resources that it will require.)

READ: Random manual audit of May polls to extend for 24 days — Lente

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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TAGS: 2019 elections, Comelec, Party list, Philippine news update, Random Manual Audit
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