(We yield this space to the statement of election watchdog BaBaE! Network due to its timeliness. – Ed.)
WE question the integrity of the 2019 midterm election results amid reports on widespread vote-buying, transmission errors, defective vote-counting machines (VCMs) and Voter’s Registration Verification Machine (VRVMs) during the conduct of the elections on May 13.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) admitted that more than 900 vote-counting machines in polling precincts across the country were defective, and over 1000 SD cards were faulty and had to be replaced during transmission. In essence, those defective VCMs and SD cards might have disenfranchised or exposed the votes of more or less two million voters to possible tampering.
BaBaE! Network had monitored certain problems in many areas in Metro Manila like Marikina, Manila, Valenzuela City, and Quezon City. The voters were asked to leave their filled-out ballots to the Board of Elections Inspectors (BEIs) due to defective VCMs. Voters from vote-rich areas that served as pilot areas of VRVMs were also affected by the delays due to defective VRVMs. These areas account for a combined three million voters at the very least.
In addition, BaBaE! Network monitored widespread vote buying in several areas like Quezon City, Malabon City, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Makati City, Cagayan de Oro, Lanao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, and Zamboanga del Norte. Election violence was also monitored in Bicol, Negros Occidental, Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Cebu City. The Comelec reported that, as of May 12, there were at least 20 people killed and 24 hurt in 43 recorded election-related incidents since December 2018.
Worse, data packets from the Comelec transparency server malfunctioned for seven hours last night which caused delay in the release of partial election results to accredited poll watchdogs like the media and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.
The release of poll results produce more questions than answers. As an election watchdog, we are enraged by the lack of transparency and credibility of the conduct of the 2019 midterm elections.
We demand the Comelec to provide sound and logical explanation to the glitches that emerged and to open election data to election watchdogs to prove that there are no manipulations or irregularities.