THE United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) urged the Commission on Elections to address election-related technical and legal issues raised by poll watchdogs.
Mon Ilagan, UNA spokesperson, said that even with only five days before the elections, the Comelec can still look into these concerns.
“With only a few days left to mend whatever needs to be fixed, there is a reason for everyone to be worried. The Comelec is either oblivious to the gravity of the risks facing the 2016 elections or refuses to admit their shortcomings,” Ilagan pointed out.
He said UNA is urging the Commission to amend its General Instructions for the Board of Canvassers on the Consolidation/Canvass and Transmission of Votes—to require the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) and the BOCs to check the hash codes for inconsistencies.
He explained that Resolution 10083 only allows two instances of any pre-proclamation controversy: illegal composition and illegal proceedings.
Ilagan added that the resolution sets aside other scenarios like issues on SD cards, faulty electronic transmissions, questionable election returns, and other technical and legal issues that are legitimately raised during the conduct of elections.
“The resolution does not recognize complaints on technical or legal issues. If an anomaly is spotted or when there is proof that the software was tampered with, the BOC will not give it attention because these scenarios were not included in Resolution 10083. Even if there’s conclusive proof, the BOC will only say ‘noted’ and proceed with the canvassing or proclamation.” he explained.
Ilagan said the Comelec should allow BOCs to check and verify the hash code of the counting machines vis-à-vis the published hash codes.
“Given these scenarios, we urge the Comelec to amend Resolution 10083 to require the BEIs and BOCs to check the hash codes for any inconsistency, and instruct them not to proceed with the election or canvassing if such cases arise,” he said.
Former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal raised alarm over the glitches encountered by the vote counting machines (VCMs) during the field tests conducted last week.
Larrazabal said the poll body should lay down contingency measures for BEIs to verify hash codes of the VCMs, noting that there must be “a procedure, properly disseminated to the BEIs and stakeholders, on how to verify the authenticity of the software used in the VCMs all over the Philippines.”