By Ellson Quismorio
Bayan Muna chairman and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares is demanding answers from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic regarding the lengthy, seven-hour glitch encountered by its transparency server following the close of the polls Monday.
“We demand a full explanation from the Comelec and Smartmatic. Otherwise, the credibility of this year’s elections will be in doubt,” Colmenares said, referring to Comelec’s tech partner.
He said the Makabayan Coalition, which Bayan Muna is a part of, was “disgusted and extremely concerned with last night’s unacceptable delay in informing the public of the senatorial and party-list results.”
“The essence of automating the election is speed and transparency but the national canvassing is being beset with delay and secrecy,” Colmenares said.
He slammed the poll body for supposedly failing to achieve the end goal of automation, which the country first took up during the 2010 presidential elections.
“In the past, dagdag-bawas [vote shaving-padding] took place amid the delays in canvassing and lack of transparency. That is what automation was supposed to cure. But apparently, Comelec has failed.”
Colmenares brought up the negative effects that the bogging down of the transparency server could have on midterm polls.
“The impact of this unforgivable delay is that the credibility of the national elections will be permanently tainted. It is not unreasonable for people to suspect that results were being doctored.
“The other impact may have been trending. The minds of the public were conditioned when Comelec posted the initial .40 percent of the votes showing pro-administration bets leading and nothing else for the next seven hours,” Colmenares explained. Lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives are administration critics, it should be noted.
The former congressman also didn’t buy Comelec’s explanation that the poll results were on hand but simply weren’t “pushed” to media.
“The explanation that the results have been transmitted to Comelec but the problem is merely ‘pushing’ the data to the media is unacceptable as well as unbelievable, considering this is the third time Comelec is conducting electronic transmission of the election results,” he said.
“Coupled with reports of massive vote buying, failure of vote counting machines and SD cards, and confusion in polling places, the credibility of this election has become tainted,” Colmenares further said.