Namfrel to continue election duties despite withdrawal as citizen’s arm

Published May 7, 2019, 6:56 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Minka Klaudia Tiangco

The National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) clarified that it will continue to do election duties despite refusing the citizen’s arm accreditation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In its manifestation filed on April 30, Namfrel said it will still “perform its mandate to ensure free and honest elections.” The poll watchdog group also said it is willing to provide other assistance in preparation for the May 13 national and local elections.

“Hindi na kami citizen’s arm pero gagawin pa rin namin (We are no longer the Comelec’s citizen’s arm but we will continue to do our election duties),” Namfrel Chairman Gus Lagman said in an interview with DZMM on Tuesday.

“Titingnan pa rin namin ang final testing and sealing. Wala kaming access sa election data pero hindi nangangahulugan na hindi na gagawin ‘yung ibang mga ginagawa namin (We will monitor the final testing and sealing of vote counting machines. We do not have access to election data, but that does not mean that we will not do our work),” he added.

Namfrel denied its accreditation as citizen’s arm of the Comelec after the poll body reportedly granted them limited access to open election data and information.

The group said in their manifestation that “the inaccessibility diminishes the verifiability of data” that they will glean from the random manual audit.

“Kung hindi kami bibigyan ng ganon, baka ang mabalita namin sa tao mali, eh. Kulang dahil hindi namin na-verify (If we will not be given the data we are asking for, we might report the wrong information to the public. The data we will receive will be lacking because we will not be able to verify it),” Lagman said.

The Namfrel chairman said they will have to look for others who have access to the transparency server, and the data that they were asking for from Comelec.