CHR urges Comelec: Explain reasons for widespread glitches, delays

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
CHR urges Comelec: Explain reasons for widespread glitches, delays
Citizens of Potrero, Malabon cast their votes at Potrero Elementary School on May 9, Wednesday.
Philstar.com/Deejae Dumlao

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights on Thursday called on the Commission on Elections to address claims of anomalies and technical difficulties that delayed the conduct of the elections and eventually cast doubt on the sanctity of the vote and the results. 

In a statement sent to reporters Thursday morning, the CHR said that it observed numerous instances of election-related violence resulting in injuries and deaths, vote buying and electioneering, failure of elections due to deliberate destruction of vote counting machines, and VCM malfunctions resulting in individuals unable to cast their votes.

The CHR called on the Commission on Elections to address complaints that it had monitored through its Bantay Karapatan sa Halalan campaign, pointing out that the glitches were widespread around the country. 

"In ensuring the credibility of the elections, the Commission on Elections has the utmost responsibility to explain to the Filipino citizenry the reasons for multiple and numerous VCM malfunctions and delay in of arrival of SD cards; provide countermeasures to ensure non-recurrence of these problems in the next elections," it also said. 

In particular, the CHR said takes cognizance and condemns the 16 separate poll-related incidents recorded mostly in the Bangsamoro Autonomous in Muslim Mindanao on election day.

 According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, these incidences of shootings, strafing, and use explosive devices meant not only seek to sow fear and discord on the day of elections but also to mar the credibility of the elections. 

"We urge law enforcement officials to conduct follow-up operations on individuals responsible so that they may be held accountable for their crimes," said the CHR. 

The Philippine National Police has said that all its personnel would remain at polling places until all election-related paraphernalia is taken by election personnel. 

The commission also said it "lauds all Filipinos and our fellow kababayans abroad who took the time in exercising their right to choose their future leaders."

"Despite pandemic restrictions, an overwhelming number of individuals chose to make their vote count. We heard stories of the elderly, persons with disabilities, and those who waited long hours in line to ensure that their vote mattered. We laud these people for standing up and exercising their rights as responsible citizens," it said in its statement. 

Comelec still standing by its preparations despite delays, problems 

At a press briefing Thursday, Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco disclosed that the unofficial and approximate voter turnout stands at 80.5 to 81% with some 54 million out of 67 million total registered voters for 2022. 

Laudiangco said that this "proves the credibility of the elections that there were no anomalies." He pointed out earlier that the transmission routers were all tested and certified on top of the Comelec's local source code review. 

The CHR in its statement that same day also said it urges citizens to respect and honor procedures that ensure its transparency to "safeguard the sanctity of the vote."

"With conviction, CHR dissuades any individual or groups from intimidating volunteers and those involved in the parallel count of electoral returns. These are important processes that ensure legitimacy of elections and part of a normal functioning democracy," it said. 

"Regardless of the election outcome, CHR takes the time to assure the Filipino citizenry on its continuing mandate and vigilance in the protection and promotion of human rights."


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