Veteran banker Edward S. Go has assumed the chairmanship of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) which is accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct its own voting tabulation.
From its inception 23 years ago, Namfrel had been headed by industrialist and former trade and industry secretary Jose Concepcion Jr.
Concepcion was honored during the Namfrel National Assembly "for his outstanding achievements as chairman of the Namfrel," a poll watchdog he founded during the last years of the Marcos era to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.
As a barangay chairman of Forbes Park in Makati City, Concepcion is covered by the Comelec ban prohibiting elected officials from holding a position in Namfrel.
Go was treasurer of Namfrel in the last two elections. He was recommended by Concepcion as his successor in the private poll watchdog.
In an interview, Go said Namfrel will be teaming up with the National Secretariat for Social Action for the quick count at the De La Salle gymnasium, in Ortigas, Greenhills.
Aside from tabulating the votes of the senatorial, congressional and local elections, Go said the quick count will collate the votes for party-list sectoral representation in Congress..
Namfrel will be given the sixth copy of the certificate of elections return which will be the basis for its tabulations.
"We will do this as quickly as we can. But Namfrel will not sacrifice accuracy for quickness," said Go.
Meanwhile, Go is soliciting private sector assistance to help finance Namfrel’s costs.
Namfrel has already obtained the commitment of food and beverage conglomerate, San Miguel Corporation, the Ayala Corporation, and the Lopez Group of Companies.
Telecommunications-giant, Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT) has offered to handle the communications aspect of the quick count.
As a former president of the Bankers Association of the Philippines, Go is looking forward to tapping the assistance of his former colleagues in the industry.
Go, who will turn 69 this July, described himself as "semi-retired" since he left his last banking post as chair of United Coconut Planters’ Bank (UCPB). Before UCPB, Go was executive director of Global Business Bank; president and chief operating officer of Asian Bank, and chairman and chief executive officer of China Banking Corporation.
A graduate of Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University, Go is an honorary consul for the Republic of Senegal.
He also sits on the board of various private sector firms, among them, Metro Pacific Corporation; Negros Navigation Co., Inc.; Mighty Beaut Minerals, Inc. of Canada; and Philippine Telephone Corporation, the sister-company of PLDT.
He is also the chairman of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc.