Namfrel echoes Duterte sentiment to ditch Smartmatic


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

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday requested Comelec to “dispose of Smartmatic” and “look for a new one that is free of fraud.”

Namfrel said in a statement that the country’s elections need no involvement of such foreign company, such as Smartmatic.

“The conduct of Philippine elections, automated or not, should be left at the hands of Filipinos,” Namfrel’s statement said.

The election watchdog in its place proposed a hybrid manual-automated accounting system.

The group called on election lawyers, IT experts, and poll improvement 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,” they added.

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

Comelec then received 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.

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