Makabayan senatorial candidate and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares said the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) withdrawal as a COMELEC accredited watchdog puts the May 13, 2019 midterm elections vulnerable to cheating and fraud.

NAMFREL said its withdrawal was prompted by the Commission on Elections’ rejection of its petition to have open access and data to the voter’s list, project of precincts and related precinct statistics. It will also not have direct access to the transmitted election turnover from the main server, and audit logs.

“I cannot understand why COMELEC wants to withhold this information from its own accredited watchdog. If there is just one set of data and there will be no manipulation of the results, what’s there to fear?” asked Colmenares.

“This is a cause for concern especially since COMELEC’s lack of transparency may be used by the Duterte administration to rig the elections and ensure the victory of its candidates,”said the former lawmaker who served as an election lawyer in previous elections.

“Parang magiging bulag ang NAMFREL nito at mahihirapang ma-verify ang makukuha nilang datos maski ng ibang grupo. Sana ay hayaan na ng Comelec na magkaroon ng access sa kailangang mga datos ang NAMFREL para mapigilan ang dayaan at mabantayan ang boto ng mamamayan,” he added.

The past two elections have been tainted by reports and allegations of electronic fraud and vote manipulation by the COMELEC and its subcontractor Smartmatic. ###

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