MANILA, Philippines - The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) winds up today its tally of election returns (ERs) with over 90 percent of votes transmitted from precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines processed and more than half manually counted.
Media communications director Ana de Villa-Singson said the PPCRV is set to shut down its command center at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center on UN Avenue in Manila and stop encoding ERs at 11 p.m. today.
PPRCV officials and staff will transfer to a smaller room where they will continue receiving data from the PCOS machines.
The PPCRV was supposed to wrap up its tally yesterday but decided to extend operations by one more day after receiving more ERs. More volunteers have reportedly arrived to help in the encoding.
For its manual count, Singson said the PPCRV has already received ERs from 70,000 of the 76,475 clustered precincts across the country and has already encoded more than half of them or about 40,000.
The PPCRV hopes to encode 65 to 75 percent of the ERs before it stops operations today, or just enough to establish the integrity of the ERs vis-à-vis the transmitted results from PCOS machines.
Singson also said they hope transmissions from the PCOS machines will slightly improve to 91 to 92 percent today.
“There is still a large percentage to go and that is why they have to reconcile with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-TIM,” she said.
“We need to consult with them on how to reconcile our data because we have been stuck at 90.2 percent,” she said. “Are you happy with that? I’m sure you’re not and there are positions in question, big national positions especially the vice president, so that the nine percent can be a make or break,” she added.
“We really need to get that data and if it’s in the system we really need to get it so we could show it to you,” she said.
Based on an initial comparison of manual count with the electronic data sent through PCOS machines, there was a “very negligible” discrepancy of about 0.0006 percent that may translate to only about 12 clustered precincts.
For the random manual audit, the National Statistics Office (NSO) has completed documentation for only 230 of the 1,145 randomly selected precincts, Singson said.
‘Working for God’
Singson also defended her mother, PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa, against accusations that she was a “puppet” of Smartmatic.
“We are not employees of Smartmatic. We are PPCRV volunteers who are working for God, for country and accountable to no one but God and country,” Singson said.
“There are people who do things for love of country and for love of Church that is not easily understood by people who perhaps have other intentions or other motivations. My mother has a history of conduct that is unquestionable in the Church. She is in the cabinet of the Pope,” she said.
“All the PPCRV volunteers are volunteering from the heart. They are not paid, in many cases they get heat stroke, they bring their own resources, they fund themselves, they feed themselves to be able to serve the nation so this is a slur to every single volunteer who to me is heroic,” she said.
She said PPCRV’s volunteers need commendation “because they are really working out there without any expectation of recognition, without expecting anything.”
“The only thing compelling them is that they want to be part of this historic first automated elections and they want to give a positive contribution,” she said.
The Comelec, meanwhile, said it has yet to set a date for special elections in seven towns in Lanao del Sur and in two barangays in Basilan.
“We are now preparing for it. There is no schedule yet but under the law, a special election must be held within 30 days after the (regular) election,” Commissioner Lucenito Tagle said.
The Comelec had declared a failure of elections in Lumba Bayabao (11,774 voters), Lumbaca Unayan (4,583 voters), Marogong (10,407 voters), Masiu (15,538 voters), Sultan Dumalondong (7,181 voters), Tubaran 10,295 voters) and Bayang (11,296 voters), all in Lanao del Sur, and in the barangays of Upper and Lower Mahaybahay in Maluso, Basilan.
The Comelec said in Lanao del Sur, “no casting of votes occurred” because the teachers serving as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) “did not report to their designated polling precincts.”
Some 50,000 voters in over 300 polling precincts are expected to participate in the special elections.
The Comelec will also set a date for the holding of an election in some precincts in Generosa, Guimbal, Iloilo and some precincts in Barangay Buenas Aires in Pagsanghan, Western Samar.
The election in these areas had been postponed after the ballots intended for the two provinces got “interchanged.”
Meanwhile, the Comelec would also determine if losing presidential bets Jamby Madrigal and Nicanor Perlas may be held liable for forcibly disassembling a PCOS machine in Antipolo City, Rizal purportedly to check if it had been used for fraud.
The poll body has also ordered the transfer of the 60 PCOS machines kept at the residence of a technician of Smartmatic International Corp. in Antipolo City to Comelec custody. – With Sheila Crisostomo, Lino de la Cruz