MANILA - Several groups have camped out in front of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to protest alleged corruption in the poll body just a few days before the retirement of poll chief Sixto Brillantes and Commissioners Elias Yusoph and Lucenito Tagle.
At the center of the criticisms against Comelec is the poll body's alleged bias towards Smartmatic, despite allegations on fraud and misrepresentation in their 2010 AES contract.
The groups hit Brillantes' supposed midnight deal with Smartmatic on the P300-million negotiated deal for the diagnostic services for the more than 80,000 PCOS machines for the 2016 elections.
The allegations come as several election watchdogs and IT experts assailed anew the trustworthiness, security and accuracy of the PCOS technology.
Last January 21, members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines signed a petition to ask Comelec to rescind the controversial deal.
The petition was signed by 25 bishops, including Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Bishop Jose Advincula of Capiz, and Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao.
"As leaders of the Catholic Church acting in support of the advocacy for clean elections, and for transparent and accountable government, we call on the Commission on Elections to heed the demand to rescind Resolution 9922, and that any decision to this effect, be deferred until after the retirement of the three outgoing officials of Comelec led by Chairman Brillantes on February 2 this year and the appointment of their replacements," the petition read.
"We call on Comelec to uphold the rule of law in the interest of democracy and God-given people's sovereign rights of suffrage and good government. All the safeguards as found in the Automated Election Law should be complied with."
The groups said they will be camping out at Plaza Roma until Friday, but protests could extend until February 2, Monday.