Church-based group gets nod to assist in May polls

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2019 02:01 PM

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting command center during the 2016 elections. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA -- The Philippine poll commission has again tapped a parish-based watchdog for assistance, such as reporting on possible “terrorism and intimidation of voters,” in the May midterm elections.

The 27-year-old Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) was also accredited for support in the Jan. 21 plebiscite, which ratified the law carving a new self-ruled region for Muslims in the southern Philippines.

As in previous elections, the PPCRV will conduct an unofficial parallel count for the elections on May 13.

Part of its request to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was to receive a 4th copy of election returns printed by vote-counting machines before results are transmitted.

The group also sought access to any of the 27th to 30th copies of election returns after transmission.

The Comelec acknowledged it was “laboring under very tight deadlines” and would “need the help of all advocates of orderly and honest elections” for assistance.

On election day, the PPCRV is expected to report any attempt to “frustrate the free and orderly casting of votes,” the Comelec said in a resolution.

The group was established by the Archdiocese of Manila in October 1991 to help educate voters and ensure honest elections the following year.