Several organizations and individuals want an alternative automated election system that is more accurate, transparent and Filipino-made in the May 2022 national and local polls.
In a unity statement, groups led by Kontra Daya said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should stop using the current automated election system which is non-transparent and terminate any contract it may still have with its foreign provider, Smartmatic.
They said while the decision to shift to an electronic voting system in 2010 which would provide a faster count and results transmission was good, but through the years, there have been many problems with the system that far outweighed the benefits and eroded the people’s trust in the automated electoral process, casting doubts on the results of each election.
It cited what happened in the 2016 polls when Smartmatic changed the transparency server script on the evening of election day, even though it was not given authorization to do so by the Comelec En Banc, as the Election Law requires as an example.
Another example that they cited is the controversial 7-hour delay in the transmission of votes into the Comelec transparency server during the 2019 polls.
They said the glitch put into question the reliability of the entire election process.
It is for these reasons, they said, that they are calling for an alternative AES.
“We the people agree and would rather have an alternative AES that is more transparent and Filipino-made that ensures sovereignty of our election process,” read the unity statement released Sunday.
“We urge Congress to now pass a law to pave the way for the Comelec to adopt an alternative AES that is appropriate, more accurate, and more transparent,” it further read.
They also urged all political parties, prospective candidates and their followers to get behind the move to push for an alternative AES and to support its implementation for the 2022 national and local elections.
Lastly, they appeal to President Duterte, Congress, and the COMELEC, to ensure that the 2022 national elections will be “fair, accurate, transparent, credible and will truly reflect the people’s will.”
“This will promote trust and unity between government and its citizens, and enable us to work as one to address the challenges we face as a nation,” read the statement.
The unity statement was signed by more than 60 organizations and 70 individuals, including Archdiocese of Manila apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) among others.
Last month, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said the country is set to use the old vote counting machines (VCMs) from Smartmatic in the May 2022 polls.