THE NATIONAL Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) has denied statements circulating on social media claiming that the group has been involved in discussions about supposed massive cheating during the May 9 elections.
In a statement on Monday, Namfrel said such claims are “propaganda,” which undermine the outcome of the electoral exercise, “for which different stakeholders are working hard to ensure that they will be successfully conducted, free, and fair.”
The poll watchdog, which has a network of volunteers nationwide, said election fraud could be prevented with citizen participation.
“Namfrel believes that active vigilance, critical engagement with and assistance to the Comelec (Commission on Elections) as it prepares for the polls, and citizens’ observation of the process are assurances that will help dispel fears of cheating during the vote count and manipulation in the coming elections,” it said.
Last week, Namfrel along with political party representatives and members of the media participated in the Comelec’s ballot printing walkthrough at the National Printing Office.
“Without compromising the security of the ballots and data cards, we will allow full access to the printing process,” Comelec Chairman Saidamen Balt Pangarungan said at the event last week.
The election body started printing ballots in January but only recently allowed actual observation of the process, citing risks of coronavirus transmission.
Comelec also said it would allow the random ballot testing requested by election lawyer Romulo B. Macalintal.
Mr. Macalintal earlier asked the election body to examine randomly selected ballots in the presence of representatives of political parties and candidates so they can test the security of the printing process.
He also asked Comelec to provide candidates with a full inventory of the ballots per province, city, and municipality, and allow observers during the remaining printing process.
On allegations of a data breach in the Comelec system that the poll body officials have already denied, Commissioner George M. Garcia said they will wait for the National Bureau of Investigation to send a full report on the incident. — John Victor D. Ordoñez