Friday, May 11, 2007

Namfrel to be given canvass copy

THE National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections will get a copy of the certificate of canvass on top of the seventh copy of election returns to ensure a more credible quick count, a leader of the volunteer group said yesterday.

“Armed with the election returns and the certificates of canvass, we can assure the public that the quick count will be accurate and credible,” said Christian Monsod of One Voice, which is part of the Namfrel network that will do the parallel count.

Namfrel last received copies of the certificates of canvass in 1992 and used them to check the accuracy of the quick count that was based on election returns.

Another Namfrel volunteer, Eddie Nuque, said Namfrel would also be able to compare the summary of votes from the city, municipal and provincial levels with the election returns.

Nuque’s group, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, is part of the Namfrel quick count. It has 5,000 to 6,000 volunteers to monitor the elections, but needs 4,000 more to cover all precincts at the regional level nationwide.

On Saturday, Namfrel chapters will hold a national assembly to prepare for the seven-day quick count.

Namfrel aims to tabulate 100 percent of the election returns across the country with a 1:1 ratio of volunteers and poll precincts.

Volunteers will then transmit the election returns and certificates of canvass to the Namfrel center at the La Salle Greenhills for tabulation after Election Day.

Namfrel co-chairman for Metro Manila, Danny Magbual, said preparations were going smoothly despite minor hitches.

The country’s official poll watchdog will start setting up equipment and other paraphernalia for the May 14 election monitoring and countdown at their headquarters at the La Salle Greenhills in San Juan.

Magbual said Namfrel would also set up a public assistance desk to gather feedback from voters on the conduct of the elections.

Magbual said that the Commission on Elections was on schedule in distributing election materials—tally sheets, indelible ink, ballpens and stamp pads—to the 224,748 polling precincts in the country that started a week ago.

Other election materials such as official ballots, election returns, and certificates of canvass are expected to be released by the Comelec today in polling precincts for the far-flung regions and on the eve of Election Day in Metro Manila and its neighboring areas.

Based on Namfrel’s records, 45,029,668 voters are expected to troop to the polling places on Monday, Election Day. Joyce Pangco Pañares and Romie A. Evangelista