Ballot is the best evidence of election's accuracy --- Comelec

Emphasizing the fundamental principles of clean, credible, free, honest, and orderly elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reiterated that the "best evidence" of the election's accuracy, integrity, and legitimacy lies in the ballot itself.

(Photo from Comelec)

In a statement on Saturday, July 29, the Comelec clarified allegations of former Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. regarding "data manipulation and irregularity" in the transmission of Election Returns (ERs) from Vote-Counting Machine (VCM). 

Comelec explained that variations in timestamps between the first set of eight ERs and the subsequent 22 ERs are printed and distributed in compliance with the law and regulations. 

Following this, the ERs are electronically transmitted by the VCM, and the second set of 22 ERs is then printed.

"It is important to understand that the timestamps of the two sets of ERs cannot be expected to be exactly the same," Comelec said. "Since they were printed at different times as part of the standard procedure," it added. 

Comelec also noted that this is a "natural consequence" of the standard procedure followed by Electoral Boards after Close Voting on Election Day. 

The Comelec explained that the VCM Operations Manual included the following procedure as regards the setting of the date and time.

"The Electoral Boards must check that the date and time on the top left corner of the screen reflect the current date and time," Comelec said. 

"Otherwise, the Electoral Board Chairperson must change the date and time to the current Philippine Time," it added.

Meanwhile, Comelec reiterated that "setting aside all printed and electronically transmitted ERs, we can always refer to the actual paper ballot as well as its digitally captured image."

Moreover, through the Random Manual Audit (RMA), which yielded an overall accuracy rate of 99.9493 percent, Comelec said that the ballot boxes of randomly selected precincts as stipulated by law were opened, and the votes were manually conducted by the RMA Teams. (Rhowen Del Rosario)