MANILA, July 8, 2013— Fresh off a three-day plenary meeting, the Catholic bishops’ leadership has demanded accountability over the May 13 midterm electoral mess.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said the Commission on Elections should be held accountable for the breaches in security, transparency and integrity in the voting technology.
“After one experience of the automated elections, this year’s election should have been better. But it was not,” the CBCP, in a press statement, said on Monday.
“We call for accountability from Comelec officials and demand that the law be followed,” it said.
The church officials accused particularly the poll body for “stonewalling” amid concerns from different organizations and poll watchdog groups regarding the conduct of the automated elections.
Among them, they noted, are the reports of voter disenfranchisement and problems faced during the transmission of results from the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines.
“We bishops are very concerned that the safeguards of the Automated Elections Law were not sufficiently carried out,” said the CBCP.
The church leaders also lamented the massive vote-buying and vote-selling nationwide during election.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said they are hoping that appropriate government institutions will join them in seeking accountability.
The head of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, said he is referring to the Supreme Court, and the Office of the Ombudsman, where cases against Comelec officials are currently pending.
“We are calling for accountability. We hope that Comelec will answer our complaints and address them accordingly,” said Pabillo.
“We are also calling on the SC and the Ombudsman to intervene in this issue that is of national interest because laws were violated,” he said.
The bishop also called on lawmakers to act against the problems that beset the last poll exercise to ensure that it will not happen again in 2016.
“Congress should also seriously look into the matter as to how the Comelec is implementing or not implementing the law,” said Pabillo.
The Comelec had earlier declared the recent elections a success after they were able to proclaim majority of the winning candidates within the week.
The subsequent random manual audit conducted by the Comelec also revealed that the voting machines had a 99.97 percent accuracy rate. (CBCPNews)