MAJORITY of Filipinos do not want to return to manual voting and counting in next year’s elections, a survey conducted by the Church-run Radyo Veritas said.
The survey, conducted from April to May, said 64 percent responded negatively when asked if they want to revert to manual elections.
“Only 20 percent said they prefer pre-2010 manner of casting and counting of ballots,” Veritas said in a statement sent to The Manila Times.
According to Fr. Anton Pascual, president of Radyo Veritas, the survey was conducted to measure public opinion on burning issues of the day, in this case, next year’s polls.
The survey, which was conducted by the Catholic radio network’s research department headed by Dr. Clifford Sorita, had 1,200 respondents from both urban and rural areas nationwide, with 33 percent of the respondents having served as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) while 67 percent were registered voters.
It has a margin of error of plus/minus 3 percent.
The result was higher among those who served in BEIs, with 76 percent rejecting the proposition.
The survey also showed that 87 percent of BEI respondents believe the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines helped them in managing the elections, while 76 percent said it helped them cast their votes during the polls.
About 61 percent of BEIs and 55 percent of voters believed in the outcome of the elections.
By age groups, 80 percent of elderly voters said the use of PCOS machines was useful during elections, while 74 percent of adults and 77 percent of young adults shared this view.
When asked to react on the Veritas survey results, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop emeritus Oscar Cruz said it would be best if the elections are done partly manual and partly automated as it was proved in the past that purely manual or purely automated polls did not give desired results.
He pointed out that there was rampant cheating when the election system was purely manual, and that the same was also true when the controversial PCOS machines were introduced after enactment into law of the automated election system.
“On the manual part, it must be made certain that the votes cast are duly recorded, while the automated [part]will ascertain how many votes were cast in favor of who,” Cruz told The Times.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, said it was the voters who speak that they prefer automated elections.
He added that on the technical front, it cannot be denied that use of the PCOS machines had its shortcomings.
“I’m hoping that all the counting machines that will be used will have enough working safeguards to ensure accurate and credible elections,” Secillano said.
Earlier, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said he prefers manual polls.
According to Pabillo, the PCOS machines created a lot of problems in the 2010 and 2013 elections, causing questionable results “because they removed the safeguards.”
He, however, said the Church was open to other reliable options so that the people’s vote would not be stolen.