This was the message conveyed today by the watchdog group Kontra Daya as it staged a protest action in front of the office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila. The group was reacting to warnings by the poll body and foreign firm Smartmatic that there could be a failure to hold elections on May 9 and that the polls should be moved to June because of issues with the printing of a receipt for voters.
The Comelec has filed a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court, asking it to reverse an earlier decision ordering Comelec to activate the printing of receipts in the vote counting machines.
“We reject threats of a failure of elections or proposals to delay the holding of the elections. The public must not be made to choose between a flawed automated system and the prospect of the polls being delayed. The Comelec must implement not just the printing of the verifiable paper audit trail, but also other necessary safeguards,” said Kontra Daya convenor Prof. Danilo Arao
“The Comelec is banking on so many reasons to oppose the printing of receipts, it forgets the most fundamental concern of the voters, to ensure that votes are properly recorded and counted. The foreign-controlled automated election system sold to us by Smartmatic does not guarantee that our votes will be properly recorded and counted,” Arao said.
The poll watchdog also said that it is the Comelec and its stubborn refusal to print the receipts who are further casting doubt on the outcome of the elections.
“Why refuse safeguards? Why reject measures for transparency? Comelec’s actions points to something sinister. By its refusal to implement safeguards, Comelec itself is the one undermining the credibility of the election results,” Arao added.
Kontra Daya also called on all political parties to reject Comelec’s threats and support calls for transparency in the elections. The group also noted that a delay in the elections will only benefit the incumbent who will surely avail of the resources of government to further their electoral agenda.