Thursday, May 17, 2007

Namfrel credibility on the line as erroneous figures surface

National Movement for Free Election (Namfrel) chairman Edward Go admitted Thursday it committed an error in the National Capital Region and several regional counts that resulted in the deduction of votes of almost all candidates.

In a press conference, Go also said they also spotted errors in the tabulation of votes coming from La Union and Maguindanao.

In its report No. 9 released Thursday at 5:37 a.m., a total of 1,165 precincts were mistaken for Maguindanao’s. The province is under Region 13.

Go explained that La Union was assigned the number as “132" corresponding to region 1, its being 3rd in the list of provinces in the tabulation and 2 as code that the votes where from municipalities or cities.

“We were told by our volunteers in Maguindanao that they have not sent us report, so when we checked our record, we have traced that the votes came from San Fernando, La Union," he explained. “The tabulators mistook the La Union (1-3) as region 13."

Go said the mistake, including the discrepancies in the report 9 and 10, has been corrected. He explained that error happened in encoding the results of votes from the field.

“We ask our desk officers to remind everybody to send and use running total and not merely the increases in the votes… that’s the way it’s supposed to be done," he said.

It was the staff of candidate Noynoy Aquino who uncovered the discrepancies in the votes of opposition candidate in the NCR, Region 8 and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

But further scrutiny of media men covering the Namfrel count revealed other discrepancies in other regions affecting the votes of almost all candidates particularly in NCR.

Asked for comment, Aquino told GMANews.TV that he understands the situation of Namfrel volunteers and hopes that tabulators would be more careful to avoid other mistakes that might put the credibility of the quick count in question.

Go, meanwhile, assured that the error was not deliberate. - GMANews.TV