Thursday, May 17, 2007

Namfrel suspects outside interference in count glitch

The National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) suspects outside interference behind an Internet connection glitch that stalled its canvassing for more than 12 hours.

Namfrel secretary general Eric Alvia said Friday the watchdog group has asked its telecommunication partner to trace the source of the glitch that delayed its quick-count operation.

“Pinapaalam namin ngayon sa telecom partner namin. Sa loob, secure naman. Pinapa-trace namin ang problema sa labas (We have asked our telecom partner to trace the problem. We checked our internal network and it appeared secure. We are now having it traced to an external problem)," Alvia said in an interview on dzBB radio.

Alvia said the latest glitch was resolved at 5 a.m. Friday, with the Internet connection having been restored so the Namfrel tallying center can receive reports from the field.

But Alvia maintained that despite the glitch and a tabulation error that set back its counting, Namfrel remains on track in its quick-count operations.

He said the quick-count so far has accounted for 19 percent of the votes so far, compared to some 12 percent during the same time period in the 2004 presidential election.

“We’re ahead and on track. Nagulat kami despite the problems we’re still ahead of 04 (We’re ahead and on track compared to the same time frame in 2004. We are surprised because this is despite the problems we’ve been experiencing)," he said.

On the other hand, he said Namfrel has become even more cautious in coming out with its tallies, having its field personnel get sleep first before validating figures.

Alvia also downplayed speculations that the recent glitches and problems the poll watchdog group had experienced in past days will pull down its credibility.

Last Thursday, militant party-list groups announced they were planning their own quick-count operations to counter what they claimed was “trending" by Namfrel.

“Hindi naman. Inamin naman namin may problema, kung may problema inaamin agad namin (I don’t think our credibility will suffer. We admit problems when we see them, and we do something about it)," Alvia said. - GMANews.TV