Comelec says nearly ready for May 13 elections
The Commission on Elections ( Comelec) pn Friday said they are 98 percent ready for the midterm elections coming in 10 days even as the National Movement for Free Elections ( Namfrel) withdrew as their partner in the manual vote audit.
Around 1,843, 750 registered voters in 36, 807 voting centers; 389, 703 established precincts; and 85,768 clustered or group precincts will exercise their right of suffrage on May 13.
In an interview, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they have yet to conduct the final testing and sealing ( FTS) to complete their preparation.
“What lack is the FTS. We have not yet done final testing and sealing. Once we have done the final testing and sealing in all precincts then we are 100 percent (ready),” Jimenez told The Daily Manila Shimbun.
FTS will be conducted from May 6 until May 10.
Commissioner Luie Tito Guia told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines ( FOCAP) in a form Namfrel, who has been their partner for many years decidec to withdraw their accreditation for this year’s election.
“But I think we can stand on our own preparations… of course we welcome everyone who can help us,” he said.
Guia said he was told that Namfrel is withdrawing their accreditation because they were denied to access certain data which he said is out of the organization’s duty.
“That’s their choice… the reason why I accepted to again have them for manual audit for 2019 elections is (because) Namfrel might be interested,” he said.
In a chance interview, Guia said it was a “surprise” as they saw Namfrel staff being enthusiastic during their meetings and training.
“I’m not sure what happened… we had a good relationship with them,” Guia told reporters.
He called Namfrel's decision to withdraw “unfair”.
In Namfrel's manifestation posted in social media, the citizens group wanted to access the transmitted election return from the main server, audit logs, DNS ( Domain Name System) server logs, single line transmission diagram, data structure of transmitted ER and COC (at least two weeks before election day), voter verifiable paper audit trail on RMA ( random manual audit) selected precincts, vote counting machine and consolidation and canvassing system logs, transmission logs including those generated from the “meet-me-room”, configuration files including the internet protocol (IP) addresses, candidates list in all position nationwide, statement of contribution and expenses, local absentee voting/ overseas absenting voters data.
Guia said parallel counting will be done by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting ( PPCRV).
Guia said foreign countries such as United States, Australia and countries in the Southeast Asia were invited to observe the election.
Comelec said reserve batteries will be used if a power outage occurs.
Jimenez said they also informed the Department of Energy on critical periods during the election where they need power.
“So they know that and we hopefully they can take consideration when they shared rotating brown outs,” he said.
He added they also got assurance from power producers and suppliers.
“That they will assist us with emergency response teams and they will provide emergency response teams should the need arise,” said Jimenez.
Voting on May 13 still start from 6:05 am to 6 pm nationwide.
Guia said Comelec will convene the National Board of Canvassers as early as election day.
''It’s a ceremonial convening of Board of Canvassers,” Guia said.
The National Board of Canvassers will canvass results coming from the provinces and from overseas votes for the position of mayors and partylist, Guia said.
Guia hopes Comelec can proclaim the winners within the week.
Comelec said there will be no voting for regional offices under the BARMM or Bangamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao as it will only happen during the transition.
The Philippine National Police ( PNP) said they are ready to provide manpower and assistance with their deployment of a total of 160,168 police personnel.
Police Colonel Bernard Banac, the PNP spokesperson, said they are looking at a “peaceful and orderly” election.
“Though there are no reported threats, we are not taking chances and will be enforcing tight and strict law enforcement operations,” he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS