Probe into vote count ‘discrepancies’ pushed
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Aquilino Pimentel III wants the Senate to look into alleged discrepancies between the election results transmitted by the precinct count optical scanners and those culled from the random manual audit.
Pimentel, chair of the Senate committee on electoral reforms, said he would have wanted to hold hearings before the 15th Congress bows out next week but time constraints make it necessary for the inquiry to wait until the next Congress convenes in late July.
“I will ask for a copy of the report on the random manual audit. After going through this, I, through my committee, intend to conduct my own random manual audit so we can experience first-hand the issues during random manual audit,” Pimentel told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “I plan to take it up either in the electoral reform committee or in the oversight committee on suffrage. But then again, we have issues with time.”
Pimentel said he needed a copy of the audit report to have adequate background on how to proceed with his investigation.
He said that if he is not elected chairman of the appropriate committee to handle the investigation, he would file a resolution asking for the investigation.
Pimentel was one of nine administration senatorial candidates who won in the recent mid-term elections.
Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes has said minor discrepancies or variances between the electronic count and the manual audit were expected as humans have the discretion to count a vote that the scanners may have rejected because of improper shading of ballots. He said these discrepancies were tolerable if they were too few to materially affect the outcome of the elections.
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