THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday demanded that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should be held accountable for poll irregularities during the May 13 midterm polls.
“After one experience of the automated elections, this year’s election should have been better. But it was not. We call for accountability from Comelec officials and demand that the law be followed,” the CBCP said during a press briefing after the 107th CBCP Plenary Assembly in Pope Pius Manila.
The prelates bewailed reports on massive vote-buying and vote-selling during the recently-concluded elections, and how the poll body is “stonewalling” on the complaints from various groups on the conduct of the elections. These include the numerous reports of voter disenfranchisement and the problems during the transmission of the election returns from the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.
“We bishops are very concerned that the safeguards of the Automated Elections Law were not sufficiently carried out,” the CBCP said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the CBCP–National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) expressed hope that the Supreme Court and the Office of the Ombudsman will also join them in seeking accountability.
“Kaya nanawagan kami ng accountability. Sana kumilos sila (Comelec) at pakinggan ang mga reklamo at sagutin ang mga ito. Nananawagan din kami sa Supreme Court at Sandigan na makialam na sa issue na ito kasi mahalaga ito sa ating bayan, batas ang nilalabag. (We are calling for accountability. We hope that Comelec will answer our complaints and address them accordingly. We are also calling on the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman to intervene in this issue that is of national interest because laws were violated),” Pabillo said.
The prelate also appealed to Congress to ensure that the problems that happened in May will not occur again in 2016.
“Congress should also seriously look into the matter as to how the Comelec is implementing or not implementing the law,” the CBCP official said.
The Comelec declared the May 13, 2013 elections successful and claimed that the random manual audit (RMA) showed that PCOS machines had a 99.97 percent accuracy rate.