Comelec asked to use paper audit trail

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A group of bishops, former military and police officials and IT experts is poised to file a petition asking the Supreme Court to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to use the voter verification paper audit trail (VVPAT), one of the four minimum security requirements mandated by law, in the May 9 elections.

The Reform Philippines Coalition on Wednesday said it will file a petition for mandamus at the High Court on the first week of March.

The group is led by seven bishops from various denominations — former Ligayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Rey Santillan, Bernie Malitao, Boner Andaya, Larry Celda, Butch Belgica and Noel Pantoja and IT experts Glenn Chong, Toti Casiño and Greco Belgica.

It is supported by former Bukidnon congressman Al Lopez and two former Philippine National Police chiefs—Roberto Lastimosa and Hermogenes Esperon—and former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency head Dioniso Santiago, also a former Armed Forces chief of staff.


The group plans to launch a mass protest to be attended by members of their churches, including the Catholic Church.

“We are asking the Comelec to restore the VVPAT as this is the only way we are assured that our votes are counted. It will also act as our way of verifying if the canvassing is correct,” said Belgica, who is seeking a Senate seat under the tandem of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

He added that the VVPAT is important because it will be used for random audit.

Lopez said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista should resign if the commission will insist on not implementing the paper audit trail.

Sen. Richard Gordon, who authored the Automated Election System (AES) Law, is also planning to file a suit against the Comelec because of its decision to ditch the use of the VVPAT.

He warned that Comelec officials could be impeached because of their action.

“I already called my lawyers and told them to look at the issue because we might have to go to court all over again because this is a violation of the law,” Gordon said, pointing out that it is better to postpone the elections for several days rather than go through with them and cheat voters.

“I think there is something going on in the Comelec and we must stop it while there is still time,” said Gordon, the author of Republic Act (RA) 9369 or the Amended Automated Elections Law.

“All of them can be impeached for violation of the law, at the very least ignorance of the law,” added the current Philippine Red Cross chief, a senatorial candidate of the Partido Galing at Puso and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

He said there is no reason why the Comelec would deny the voters the right to know if their votes were accurately counted by the vote counting machines.

The deactivation of the VVPAT system, he noted, is a big game changer especially when many candidates are overspending in their campaign.

The poll body en banc unanimously junked VVPAT, saying it will be used for vote-buying and it will delay the voting process.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has urged the Comelec to activate the security feature to ensure the integrity of the coming electoral exercise.

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6 Comments

  1. While the protests may be appropriate, using paper audit trails mey not exactly be a great option. Paper audit trails may be easily tampered with, defeating the purpose of having an audit trail in the first place! A good remedy would be to use an IT (electronic) audit trail: http://simplifieditsm.com, as mandated by IT Services Management (ITSM).

  2. The COMELEC intention in getting rid of the voter verification paper audit trail (VVPAT) is to prevent moneyed politician from buying votes, and it is also a legitimate reason. However, under the law, there are four security requirements that the COMELEC must comply, and this VVPAT is one of them. If the mandate did not specifically mentioned that all four (4) security measures must be employed, then, COMELEC has the authority to do so.

    VVPAT is like a printed copy or a receipt that a voter can have after voting. This paper identifies the voter (voters ID), place, date , and time (s)he voted, where (s)he voted (precint id # ) and who (s)he voted for (or similar as this one). I will give some hypothetical situation here.

    I am running for President and my qualifications to run the country cannot measure up with my opponents. The voters are hesitant to vote for me and I am always on the bottom of surveys, an indication that there will not be chance for me to win the Presidency. However, my political backers have tons of MONEY, that can change the political landscape; It will greatly improve my chance, if not guarantee me the Presidency.

    My consultants told me that there are over five (5) million registered voters in Metro Manila and I could have their votes if I am willing to spend P500 per vote. Well, 5 million voters at P500 per vote, that will be P2.5 Billion for the voters alone. This is where the VVPAT comes into play. After voting, a voter can get a hard copy of this audit trail paper, show it to one of my lawyers (a mini station located near the voting station) collect your money, and disappear (a very simple process in buying votes). I can also claim that I have helped poor people, and helped the economy, as well.

    Lastly, I personally think that the COMELEC have the full intension in keeping this National Election clean, and transparent. They are determined to level the playing field for all the candidates by getting rid of the VVPAT.

  3. Palusot ng Comelec gagamitin sa vote buying kahit wala naman niyang paper audit trail o resibo ng ibinoto ko kung gusto ipagbili ang boto mangyayari diba? Dapat talaga wag alisin yan para sigurado ako na ang ibinuto ko ay mabibilang.ano gusto nyo kayo lang ang kikita.

  4. COMELEC will just deny your pleas…..kasi bayad na partially mga CRIMINAL na ito.How much tongpats for each one? Remember…..BILYONES ang contract.Kahit ako, I will get the bribe and fly away…..he…he…he….sayang naman….for 50M…ok na sa akin.

  5. This is the time to unite the people. Please go and fight for the right of voters.

    Many are disenfranchised because of “no bio, no boto”. I’m a registered but w/o bio.

  6. ernie del rosario on

    May tinatago kasi na labas naman ang ULO kaya ayaw itong ilagay ng Comelec. Gaya ng wrong implementation ng digital signature na pinipilit puede na yung machine signature. May accountability ba ang isang makina kung nag transmit ng illegal resulta ? Puede ba ito ihabla in case ? Tapos yung source c ode review na hinao shiao kaya wa epek at kinatapusan sa higpit ng takip silip mga 1% lang ng source ang na review ng independent reviewers. Strike 3 na ito ng ganitong depektibong sistema ng halalan eh di pa natin ma “out” ang may kagagawan.