Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Abalos: TV networks to face sanctions if they continue quick count

The Commission on Elections on Wednesday asked the two television networks ABS-CBN and GMA 7 to stop their "unauthorized" quick counts.

In a press conference, Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos said only Namfrel (National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections) is accredited by the poll body to do a quick count.

"The stations should not do it because it confuses our people. It shows trending and we do not allow trending because they might be reporting from places favorable to their candidates of choice," he said.

"Our agreement with them is that they will report what they see, and the exit polls. This is not under the exit polls anymore. They are not supposed to consolidate votes… They are not supposed to report unofficial counts. We are requesting them to put a stop to the quick count," he added.

Abalos also noted that the sources of the numbers from the two networks are not known. He said the public has a right to correct information, "not unofficial counts."

The poll chief said the television networks might be cited for contempt if they continue with the quick count. He said the Comelec's education and information department has already made representations with the two networks.

"We will impose sanctions (if they don't follow), but I don't think they will disregard our instructions… They can be cited for contempt," he said.

"For instance, the initial count by the Comelec that we just finished, you report that and that's OK, that's reporting… The people are entitled to know from which precincts the figures are and if they're complete," he added.

Abalos said the computer schools AMA and STI are not part of the order because they are just "tools."

Earlier, Team Unity officials criticized the quick counts of the two television networks.

Posted by : Veronica Uy at PICC in Pasay City