PPCRV chair refutes misconceptions, explains function of poll watchdog

Published May 16, 2022, 10:49 AM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) national chairperson Myla Villanueva penned a lengthy message addressed to a netizen as she explained the function of the church-backed poll watchdog.

The letter was addressed to an individual who questioned why PPCRV is not auditing actual ballots.


“What we do at PPCRV is to check against transmission fraud when election returns (ERs) go into cyberspace. To protect against a term you know as ‘dagdag-bawas.’ We compare pre-transmission ERs. Together with others, it is a holistic audit of the process, in any election cycle,” said Villanueva.

Physical pre-transmission ERs are printed before the vote counting machines (VCMs) transmit poll returns into cyberspace. As part of the process and as mandated by the law, PPCRV receives the 4th copy of the pre-transmission poll results.

As soon as these ERs arrive at PPCRV’s command center, it will be sorted, distributed to two batches of encoders. When fully encoded, these physical ERs will then be compared to electronically-transmitted copies. Afterwards, the match rates will be released to the public.

As of Saturday, May 14, based on the third batch of ER validation conducted by the poll watchdog, the fully-encoded 39,882 poll returns have matched the electronically-transmitted copy, producing a match rate of 98.42 percent.

Meanwhile, Villanueva reiterated that PPCRV relies mostly on volunteerism. For the May 2022 polls, over half a million Filipinos have volunteered to help the poll watchdog achieve a clean, honest, and fair elections.

“We owe it to the 500,000 volunteers and lay coordinators in our parishes around the country – some of whom prepared for more than a year to help guard your votes on the election day to explain what they have been sacrificing for,” she said, adding that most of the volunteers are “parish-based youth who have given their time and love for free.”

Apart from volunteer ecoders at its command center, PPCRV likewise deployed volunteers to election precincts across the country. She added that Information Technology (IT) experts have also been working prior to the elections conducted on May 9 to assure that VCMs are properly working.

“This work is not just now, it has been going on for more than a year, for you, our voter,” she reiterated.