RMAs far more slower than transmission of election results – NAMFREL

May 17, 2013 10:41 pm 

MANILA, May 17 – Questions about the slow transmission of election results have been raised since the day after the mid-term election on May 13 but the conduct of random manual audit (RMA) is experiencing much delay.

National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) Secretary General Eric Alvia said that of the 234 legislative districts identified for RMA only 150 have signified their intention to observe the audit.

He said NAMFREL has received and cleared reports for 19 RMAs.

“The whole RMA process depends on the number of voters in an area but ideally it can be done in one to three days,” he told PNA.

RMA is being done to check whether there are differences in the figures of the automated and the manual count on the ballots.

The audit should be done by teachers who are members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) who did not serve during the election day.

The RMA team, on the other hand, is composed of a representative from the Commission on Election’s (COMELEC) Auditor’s Office, the National Statistics Office (NSO), and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

Representatives from different election watchdogs can witness the audit and can get the sixth copy of the audit return or the RMA report.

Alvia said they have “seen some discrepancies” on the counts based on RMA results but declined to elaborate.

He hopes that RMAs would be finished nationwide as soon as possible noting that in the 2010 polls the results of the RMA was released two-and-a-half months after the elections.

Similarly, NAMFREL Spokesperson Damaso Magbual said that even if RMAs have been conducted in several areas this process proved to be a failure in some.

“There are precincts designated for RMAs where the machines malfunctioned,” he noted.

Among the areas where large discrepancies on the counts are noticed include Las Pinas, Guimaras, and Zamboanga del Norte.

Meanwhile, NAMFREL member Corazon H. Ignacio, who attended the RMA in Precinct 4 of the Abangan Sur Elementary School in Marilao, Bulacan said the audit she witnessed was done properly.

She said the audit started even before the election was finished or from 6pm Monday to 1pm the following day.

“The BEIs and the RMA team are prepared. They knew what they are doing and did it according to the rules,” she said.

Ignacio said variants, or the difference in the machine and manual counts, seen after the RMA was negligible or between one to four counts. (PNA)

DSP/JS/UTB

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