Comelec’s random manual audit proves no poll cheating

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The Random Manual Audit Team (RMAT) assures the poll watchers that all the paraphernalia were intact and complete. PHOTO BY REYNARD MAGTOTO
The Random Manual Audit Team (RMAT) assures the poll watchers that all the paraphernalia were intact and complete. PHOTO BY REYNARD MAGTOTO / BICOLTODAY.COM

By Reynard Magtoto

LEGASPI CITY, Albay (BicolToday.com/20May2013) – While waiting for final results in the senatorial positions due to its very slow post-election operations, many are bothered to the fraudulent results that may occur and the poll cheating that might exist during Election Day.

Directed by COMELEC, one way to crosscheck figures is through the Random Manual Audit (RMA) held in different randomly selected precincts throughout the country right after the closing of the casting of votes.

In one poll location, cups and coffee were on the table in Mabini Elementary School just to keep the RMA members fully awake the whole night, while executing the RMA.

There were five Random Manual Audit members who were, in their first time, to manually audit the automated election results in Brgy. Mabini, 2nd District of Albay.

Random Manual Audit Team prepares the paraphernalia before proceeding on their execution. BY REYNARD MAGTOTO / BICOLTODAY.COM
Random Manual Audit Team prepares the paraphernalia before proceeding on their execution. BY REYNARD MAGTOTO / BICOLTODAY.COM

Under the Section 29 of RA 9369, there should be a random manual audit (RMA) in one precinct per congressional district where the AES is used. The chosen members will then conduct RMA in the randomly selected clustered precinct immediately after the Board of Election Inspectors seals the ballot box.

However the BEIs had faced delays that caused the RMA Team to wait for almost 6 hours. According to RMA chairman Harry Mayor, they did not expect that they will take a long time.

“We will start late at night then will end in the morning,” Mayor said. “We didn’t sleep.”

Since the job of the RMAT is to wait for the BEIs to proceed for the verification process, and not to question them, Mayor did not bother to ask.

With the delay in the transmission, the BEIs explained that they failed to transmit the results in the 3rd server, the KBP. However they added that it’s already okay. They also took too much time in preparing the reports.

According to Mayor, the duration for the preparation of the reports is in the prerogative of the BEIs. “We can’t say delayed (in the preparation of reports), maybe they are just making sure there are no mistakes.”

The RMA started around 1:00 am. Only 354 ballots from those who actually voted out 395 will be validated for the accuracy of the PCOS count. Mayor reminded that only watchers with appointments can enter the room.

During the execution, they had coffee breaks to be fully awakened and in focus the whole night.

Spending the whole night for RMA, the RMAT placed cups, coffee and snacks on their table for their  breaks. PHOTO BY REYNARD MAGTOTO / BICOLTODAY.COM
Spending the whole night for RMA, the RMAT placed cups, coffee and snacks on their table for their breaks. PHOTO BY REYNARD MAGTOTO / BICOLTODAY.COM

Around 9:30 am, the RMA was finally done revealing the 1 vote discrepancy. This also includes 275 under-votes and 4 over-votes in the Senatorial position; 82 under-votes in congressional position; and 3 over-votes and 15 under-votes in mayoral position.

RMAT found 1 discrepancy vote to the senatorial candidates Samson Alcantara, Edgardo Angara, Bam Aquino, Allan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros, Jamby Madrigal, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Koko Pimentel and Grace Poe.

For the local positions, 1 discrepancy vote was found to both congressional candidates Al Francis Bichara and Sultannally Magdato. Gerry Jaucian has 1 discrepancy vote for mayoral position.

Since there is only 1 discrepancy, according to RMAT, there is no problem with PCOS count. It will be a problem if it exceeds the allowable margin of ten votes per candidate per position. It will then be send to Manila for investigation, according to Mayor.

Last March 2, the RMA members in Bicol undergo at CWC, Pili, Cam Sur, training for the random manual auditing. Almost 96 members for the 16 congressional districts took part.

For the RMAT, the RMA is good because they can verify the results of PCOS, and so far it tallies on the manual count. “At least we can justify,” Mayor said. [BicolToday.com]

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