Namfrel echoes Duterte sentiment to ditch Smartmatic

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2019 10:27 PM

The Namfrel recommends a hybrid manual-automated system in the next elections. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections on Friday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) not to use Smartmatic in the next elections following President Rodrigo Duterte’s recommendation.

Duterte on Thursday asked Comelec to "dispose of Smartmatic" and "look for a new one that is free of fraud."

In a statement, Namfrel said the country's elections do not need the involvement of a foreign company, such as Smartmatic.

"The conduct of Philippine elections, automated or not, should be left at the hands of Filipinos," it said.

The election watchdog instead proposed a hybrid manual-automated accounting system.

The group called on election lawyers, IT experts, and poll reform organizations to work with the Comelec in searching for "the appropriate responsive, election technology solution."

"It is high time that the Philippines’ IT talents are harnessed for our elections. While our IT community works on the appropriate responsive technology, interested stakeholders should push for the law to be amended," it said.

In the May 13 midterm polls, Namfrel had refused accreditation from Comelec after failing to get access to some data that would have helped identify red-flag incidents.

Comelec earned ire during the recently-concluded polls after hundreds of vote-counting machines encountered glitches and real-time election results were delayed for 7-hours due to technical difficulty.