The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), which will start using a fully automated elections system (AES) in the 2025 National and Local Elections (NLE), is urged by the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) to ensure a transparent and credible electoral process.
“The election process and the AES must be open to everyone’s scrutiny and analysis, free from any conditions and restrictions,” NAMFREL stated.
The poll watchdog added that the certification process by the international certification entity as required by law must be available for public review including the full audit report, as soon as possible before the election.
Moreover, NAMFREL emphasized that all steps must be traceable, from the ballot to the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) to the election results and the canvassing and consolidation. This can be done by making such data available to the public through the COMELEC website.
In case issues happen during the election stages, NAMFREL stated that voters must be allowed to correct their votes if the VVPAT does not accurately state who they voted for and must always be allowed to correct overvotes and undervotes, so that none of their votes are wasted.
NAMFREL has also suggested two procurement law reforms to open the playing field for local Filipino bidders. Among the suggested law reforms include the removal of the requirement of demonstrated capability and successful use in a prior electoral exercise here or abroad under Republic Act No. 8436, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369, as well as the Government Procurement Policy Board should exempt AES from the Single Largest Completed Contract requirement.
The poll watchdog stressed that all these standards will be important, not only in 2025 but in all electoral exercises, in building trust and credibility in the election process, the election results, and the COMELEC.
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