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The Manila Times - Comelec told to look into new ways, better systems

News & Interviews
15 May 2019

By Catherine A. Modesto | The Manila Times

Election officials should consider overhauling procurement procedures and even the voting system itself given glitches that marred the May 13 polls, a watchdog said on Wednesday.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), which is conducting a parallel and unofficial count, said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would do well to look into “new ways” and “better systems”.

The poll body has blamed procurement laws for fostering incompatibilities that led to numerous machine failures. An official also claimed that lowest bid contract awards led to the delivery of low-quality products.

“What are the new ways of elections? Are there better systems?” PPCRV chairman Myla Villanueva asked.

The Comelec should also expand its options by accepting more bids, she said, but qualified that prospective suppliers should be vetted for international experience.

Filipinos, Villanueva said, “still want automation but we need to make sure that all options are considered.”

The PPCRV chief also questioned the delayed transmission of results from the Comelec transparency server, along with subsequent data fluctuations, that had raised cheating concerns.

“We are asking all the questions the public is asking but we are escalating our questions … because we want to know,” she said.

The Comelec has blamed a “Java error” for the data fluctuations but did not provide details.

Poll officials on Wednesday said they were open to an independent audit of the transparency server.