Former Comelec official, election watchdog support party-list group’s probe plea

By on June 27, 2016

(File photo: Avito C. Dalan/PNA)
(File photo: Avito C. Dalan/PNA)

MANILA—A former Commission on Elections (Comelec) official and an election watchdog have supported the petition filed by the Confederation of Non-Stock Savings and Loan Associations Inc. (CONSLA) Party-list group seeking the conduct of an investigation on the alleged discrepancies in the results of the May 9 elections.

According to retired Comelec Commissiober Gregorio Larrazabal, the poll body should look into the said request for the sake of transparency and truthful elections.

“When you say you’ll have transparent elections, you have to back that up with action. Otherwise, it’s just lip service,” he said.

Larrazabal noted that it is more imperative for the poll body to act on the matter since the alleged inconsistency took place at the server it managed and used by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), its sole accredited citizens’ arm.

“You need to look at it because the data sent to the transparency server is the same data sent to the various consolidation and canvassing system (CCS),” the former Comelec commissioner added.

On the other hand, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) executive director, lawyer Rona Ann Caritos, said it is the right of CONSLA to call for an investigation if it believes that it has sufficient evidence to prove vote manipulation in the recently-concluded elections.

She added that an explanation from the PPCRV and the Comelec on the supposed discrepancies would build public confidence not only on the process but also on the Comelec as a constitutional body.

When asked about the repercussions of denying CONSLA’s demand for probe, Caritos said: “It will affect the credibility of the AES (automated election system).”

The Reform Philippines’ Coalition (RPC) headed by lawyer Glenn Chong said CONSLA’s case “is a strong indication” that the 2016 elections were far from being honest.

“They have screenshots of the PPCRV transparency server update showing they had garnered over 555,000 votes, only to be deducted by over 300,000 votes in the final/official Comelec tally,” he said.

Chong added that he was puzzled by the conflicting results of the tally of the PPCRV and the Comelec with regard to CONSLA, considering that they used the same transparency server during the last elections.

“The updates of election results are always additions as there are no negative votes to justify a reduction of their already tallied votes,” he said.

Aside from the request before the Comelec, the party-list organization has also filed a letter-complaint with the PPCRV seeking an explanation for the discrepancy.