THE National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) has laid down at least three initiatives to secure the integrity and credibility of the May 13 midterm polls which were specified in its petition for accreditation before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Among the schemes that Namfrel is set to conduct is the monitoring of the processes and schedules of the automated election system (from procurement to delivery of machines to performance of the vote counting machines (VCM) and the transmission and canvassing of election results during the election day).
Another is designing and maintaining an open election data website which aims to increase the transparency of the results. Election-related data obtained will be analyzed and used to detect fraud.
And lastly, is supporting the random manual audit (observing the team which will do manual examination of the ballots to validate the machine count); and other conventional poll watch activities.
The poll watchdog introduced these activities after it had observed that electoral protests at the local level have increased despite the automated election compared with the manual election system.
“Aiming for a quick and correct count, automating the election process was though a solution. However, the dearth in information and data from the process of the three automated elections result in an inconclusive finding in assessing the accuracy of the results and performance of the AES process,” Namfrel said in a statement.
“Despite multiple efforts by various groups to monitor the conduct and results of the past elections, lack of transparency and gaps in coverage has resulted in an unconvincing assessment of the past elections,” it added.
In its Minute Resolution dated March 29, the Comelec accredited Namfrel to serve as citizens’ arm in the May polls. Namfrel filed its petition last December 5.
Namfrel said the granting of accreditation to embark on the election monitoring activities is consistent with Article 18 of the December 2012 Bangkok Declaration on Free and Fair Elections, where Comelec is a signatory.
The Comelec’s citizens’ arm is again seeking support to carry out the tasks of mobilizing some 50,000 volunteers to monitor the election process in 85,768 clustered precincts nationwide during the election period, especially on the election day.
“The granting of full accreditation based on the petition filed with the Commission En Banc will enhance Namfrel’s performance to effectively accomplish its self-mandated tasks in the service of free, fair, clean and honest elections,” Namfrel said.