In an interview Wednesday night with “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News, Namfrel secretary general Eric Alvia said their decision to withdraw as the Comelec’s citizens’ arm could still change even if it will be difficult to undertake all the preparations to function as such.
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Namfrel may still serve as citizens’ arm
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - May 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Election watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) is still open to serving as citizens’ arm of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the May 13 elections provided it will be given “full access” to poll-related data.

Namfrel decided to withdraw its accreditation as the Comelec’s citizens’ arm after the poll body refused to grant access to data that it was requesting.

In an interview Wednesday night with “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News, Namfrel secretary general Eric Alvia said their decision to withdraw as the Comelec’s citizens’ arm could still change even if it will be difficult to undertake all the preparations to function as such.

“(But) if they come out with another resolution specifying that we will have access to the data, why not, we will attempt to do it. We can still probably change our decision,” Alvia added.

Alvia said the credibility of the May polls cannot be ensured if Namfrel is not allowed to have access to certain data.

In the same program, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez clarified that the poll body has not yet decided on Namfrel’s second request to obtain information.

“I have not seen outright denial of their request. The approval process may be taking longer than expected, but I don’t see that the denial is inevitable,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez noted that Namfrel submitted two requests before the commission and one was to serve as citizens’ arm, including participation in the manual random audit.

The other request was to have access for accreditation of a website that they intend to publish as open election data. 

Jimenez said there is no cause for worry in case Namfrel decides not to serve as citizens’ arm in the coming elections.

“I think Namfrel is not the only one interested in ensuring the accuracy of the elections. Namfrel would have been a valuable companion in this endeavor, but certainly it’s not the only one holding the credibility of the elections in their hands,” Jimenez said.

He stressed the commission should not be considered wrong and the elections not credible if Namfrel is not granted authority to obtain certain data.

Jimenez also noted that the public will have access to all results of voting per precinct through a website.

“The data is available to the public. That data is verifiable and they can countercheck that,” JImenez pointed out.

“There is no reason for the people to be concerned (about) the credibility of the elections (even without Namfrel),” the poll official said.

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS NATIONAL CITIZENS’ MOVEMENT FOR FREE ELECTIONS
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