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Namfrel to Comelec: Investigate reports on pre-shaded ballots

/ 08:42 PM May 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) has insisted that reports on pre-shaded ballots should be investigated, instead of viewing it as an effort to undermine the automated polls.

The group said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should investigate the issue and stop the practice because it casts doubt on the integrity of election results.

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“Namfrel calls on the Commission on Elections to get to the bottom of the recorded ballot shading incident instead of suspecting that the uploader is out to undermine the integrity and credibility of the election results. The Comelec should put a stop to this practice,” Namfrel said in a statement on Friday.

“Even more alarming is that the video is being dismissed by certain quarters, reasoning that it has been done in past elections in areas where political families hold sway or in areas where there are few or no watchers,” the group added.

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Namfrel did not name the group who it claims has dismissed the video as old footage, but Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) Executive Director Rona Ann Caritos earlier said the issue had been blown out of proportion to discredit the automated system.

“‘Yung release kasi ng [pre-shaded ballots] video is kinda suspect because… there is a concerted effort to really discredit the integrity of the automated elections system,” Caritos told INQUIRER.net at the sidelines of the Random Manual Audit for these elections.

Lente is Comelec’s partner for this election’s Random Manual Audit of the vote counting machines (VCMs). In previous elections, Namfrel was tapped to do a manual count to double check the data from VCMs.

READ: ’Pre-shaded’ ballots video may discredit automated elections – Lente

Party-list group Anakbayan previously re-uploaded a video on Facebook, allegedly taken in Lanao del Sur, showing two individuals shading ballots which will be used in the automated elections. However, it was unclear when and where exactly the shading happened.

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Patunay ng dayaan sa eleksyon! Umusbong ang isang video na nagpapakita ng pre-shading ng balota sa Lanao del Sur sa gitna ng Martial Law sa Mindanao!Maging mapagmatiyag habang gumuglong ang bilingan ng resulta sa eleksyon at ang maniobra ng rehimen na paupuin ang mga alipores nito sa kapangyarihan.#LabanKabataan#LabanBayan

Posted by Anakbayan on Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Still, Namfrel insisted that the video alone is proof that the issue is real, and may have been the case in some areas for this year’s polls.

“Namfrel expresses alarm over the video circulating in social media that appears to confirm previous anecdotal reports of ballot pre-shading. The video provides evidence that ballot pre-shading is real and may be happening in some parts of the country,” the group explained.

Namfrel said the pre-shading of ballots may have occurred because of Comelec’s slow response regarding key issues.

“The slow response in replacing failed vote counting machines and/or corrupted SD cards may have also opened up the opportunity for some parties to engage in ballot pre-shading,” it explained.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said Thursday that they are investigating the incident. Malacañang has also expressed concern about the issue and ordered the poll-governing body to look into the video. (Editor: Eden Estopace)

READ: Comelec probing viral video of ‘pre-shaded’ ballots

READ: Viral video of pre-shaded ballots draws Palace concern   

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