64% say no to manual count in 2016 polls

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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.

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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.

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2 Comments

  1. jesus nazario on

    By the way, is Dr. Clifford Sorita still connected with PPCRV ? PPCRV is a Smartmatic PCOS fanatic so it is a no-brainer that they may have rigged this survey. ANYAYARE sa bayan natin ?

  2. jesus nazario on

    It’s not the PCOS per se which is the culprit in the 2010/2013 mess. It was how it was mis-used. PCOS is dumb, inanimate and non-partisan so it cannot favor or disfavor any candidate by itself. The automated system in which PCOS is just one of the components can only be rigged by human players by removing all the security safeguards and transparency assurances to HIDE the sordid act of tampering the people’s will. These happened in both 2010 and 2013. PCOS tuloy suffered a very bad name that is why Comelec is now making the use of the term taboo and using synonyms like OMR or Opscan to call the same banana in the ongoing bidding activities to acquire the same banana.

    In this climate of total lack of security safeguards and total opaqueness of the election processes in the 2010/2013 elections and the looming possibility that this administration will persist using it again next year, what would be the prudent way of assuring the safeguarding of the people’s will in this election ? Remove the PCOS and bring back the needed transparency by assuring that this is present at the very least in the most crucial points in the results consolidation processes which are the counting of the ballots and tallying of precinct results via a manual system assisted by present enabling technologies which boost the transparency beyond those achievable by purely manual processes. This is where the hybrid system of manual counting and tallying of the votes and conversion of the results into digital form at the precinct level and electronic transmission and automated canvassing up all the nodes in the canvassing hierarchy. The PCOS system became the ANYARE ? (sa boto ko) mal-solution, meaning we never knew what fate our votes had after we fed the ballot into the PCOS.