Votes cast in Cebu City not rigged
(The Freeman) - June 1, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The vote counting machines (VCMs) in the May 9 elections in Cebu City read the ballots correctly, a Random Manual Audit of the Commission on Elections revealed.

The audit was conducted at the Comelec central office in Manila last May 25 following protest filed by suspended Mayor Michael Rama against mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña.

 Subjected to audit were the six clustered precincts, which include numbers 234 of Mabolo, 334 of  T. Padilla, 350 of Talamban, 545 of Guadalupe, 582 of Inayawan, and 596 of Kalunasan.

 In the six clustered precincts in question, Osmeña reportedly got more votes than Rama.

 “Based on verbal report of the commission, there are no discrepancies between the results shown in the Election Returns (ERs) and the manually audited ballots,” said lawyer Judiel Pareja who represented Osmeña in the proceeding.

 Pareja said this dispels allegations of electoral fraud like what Rama accused Osmeña of in his election protest.

 Pareja also said the result of the audit supports the earlier statement of the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) that there was no indication of irregularity in the May 9 elections based on the ongoing audit.

 As required by the poll automation law, the Comelec, Namfrel and the Philippine Statistics Authority conduct audit to validate the accuracy of the VCMs.

 The audit covered the positions of president, vice president, congressmen, senators and mayors. 

 Namfrel found that there is an average overall accuracy of 99.71 percent for president and vice president, 99.78 percent for congressmen, 99.78 percent for governor and 99.75 percent for mayor.

Rama filed an election protest before the Comelec on May 20 after getting 233,186 votes less than the 267, 222 votes of Osmeña.

Brgy, Sk polls

Meanwhile, with the national elections over, Comelec-7 Director Jose Nick Mendros has ordered election supervisors in Central Visayas to sort out and update the voter’s list for the upcoming synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in October.

Updating means checking the voter’s name against the records to determine if that voter has cast his vote or not.

If a particular registered voter failed to vote twice, his name will be removed from the list of voters and will not be allowed to vote.

Mendros also congratulated the PNP, AFP, and other government agencies tasked to secure the national elections.

In the area of peace and order, Mendros said he would rate the same at least 95 percent because of the preparations of the police and of the soldiers for a peaceful elections.

Mendros himself was part of the security preparations wherein he, the police, and AFP Central Command officials have worked tediously to foresee possible scenarios and to be able respond to every challenge during the election.

“Factors are the preparations of the AFP and PNP, nakita ng mga contengencies na mangyayari,” Mendros said.

For his part, Police Regional Office-7 Director Patrocinio Comendador considers the security efforts during the elections successful in the absence of any casualty.

“There was disruption of peace and order, however, it was not that grave to disrupt the election process… nobody was hurt, fatally shot, or wounded,” Comendador said.

Colonel Arnulfo Matanguihan, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said they were able to secure the ballots, the vote counting machines and the board of election inspectors successfully before, on the day, and after Election Day.  (FREEMAN)

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