March 23, 2010
The anti-fraud group Kontra Daya today challenged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to dispel fears of a failure of elections by conducting mock elections.
Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal had hit back yesterday at critics who have raised various concerns on what will e the first automated elections in the country’s history.
“It’s so cheap to use the phrase ‘failure of elections’ now,” Larrazabal had said to the media. “Every person suddenly becomes an expert and says failure of elections. Do they actually realize what they are talking about, what it means to have a failure of elections? I’m just saying that when you say failure of elections, please realize that there are serious implications there.”
“If there is so much apprehension about a possible failure of elections, it is because the conditions for it are present,” said Kontra Daya convener Fr. Joe Dizon. “Among these are the persistent problems of ballot rejection and failure to transmit results in field tests and mock polls. There is also the lack of time to accommodate all 1,000 voters in every clustered precinct during the entire 11-hour voting period.”
There are more than 50.7 million registered voters for the upcoming elections, with voters from more than 329,000 precincts expected to line up at 76,000 clustered precincts. There will be one precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine and three BEI members for an average of 1,000 voters at every clustered precinct.
A recent computer simulation by Kontra Daya convener Prof. Giovanni Tapang, of the National institute of Physics at the University of the Philippines, had shown that 11 hours is not enough to accommodate more than half of the 1,000 voters expected to line up at every clustered precinct.
Larrazabal had responded to Tapang’s findings by claiming the Comelec had conducted its own poll simulations, accommodating about 120 voters per hour and, in one instance, managing to help about 400 voters before lunch. “The notion that you can’t process 1,000 voters in 11 hours doesn’t make any sense,” Larrazabal had said.
“The rejection of ballots, the failure to transmit results, and the lack of time to accommodate all voters per clustered precinct are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to conditions for failure of elections,” Dizon said.
“One way the Comelec can help to dispel fears of failure of elections is to conduct mock polls, in a clustered precinct with 1,000 voters, and with a complete Board of Election Inspectors (BEI),” Dizon added. “We would like to remind the Comelec that this is among the recommendations contained in two letters that we have submitted to the Commission and taken up in two dialogues with Commissioner Larrazabal. The Comelec should act on this and other recommendations instead of simply lashing out at critics who are raising legitimate concerns.” #