Comelec invites observers for transparent 2016 vote
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has vowed a more transparent balloting in 2016, involving outside observers in every step of its preparations for the polls.
“We have been constantly discussing transparency. We have already invited observers for all the critical areas, critical stages of our preparations,” said Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes in a recent interview.
Admitting that this was not the practice in previous elections, Brillantes said “we will now look for observers who will keep an eye on us.”
Brillantes was quick to add, however, that they did not want observers who would do nothing but find fault with the Comelec.
“What we are looking for are observers who will give constructive criticism, not those who think we are not doing anything right,” he said.
Brillantes said that among the observers they intend to tap is the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC).
“We already have an arrangement where they (CAC) will have a representative every week … every time the steering committee meets, they will have someone sitting in,” he said.
Under Republic Act No. 9369, the CAC is tasked with recommending to the Comelec the “most appropriate, secure, applicable and cost effective” automated election system (AES) for the coming election.
The CAC is also mandated to participate as a nonvoting member of the steering committee that would implement the AES, as well as provide advice and assistance in the review of the systems planning, inception, development, testing, operation and evaluation stages.
The law allows the CAC to provide advice and assistance in the identification, assessment and resolution of systems problems or inadequacies as may surface or resurface in the course of the bidding, acquisition, testing, operations, reuse, storage or disposition of the AES equipment, and provide advice and assistance in the risk management of the AES, especially when a contingency or disaster situation arises.