Comelec to stop ‘transparency’ count

Paterno Esmaquel II
(4th UPDATE) Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr says this will take effect once the national board of canvassers starts proclaiming the winning senators

STOPPED. Comelec boss Sixto Brillantes Jr stops the transparency server that releases election results to watchdogs and media groups. File photo by John Javellana

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will stop the media and watchdogs from publishing election results from the so-called Transparency Server once the board of canvassers starts proclaiming the senators. 

In a press conference on Thursday, May 16, Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr said the suspension is temporary. Groups connected to the Transparency Server, including Rappler, can continue using it after the national board of canvassers (NBOC) proclaims the winning senators.

Brillantes said this will prevent “confusion” once the NBOC proceeds with the proclamation. He added this is “just showing some respect” for the NBOC.

“Nagta-tabulate pa kayo ng unofficial eh nagpro-proclaim na kami ng official. HIndi naman magandang tingnan,” Brillantes explained. (You’re still tabulating unofficial results while we’re already proclaiming what’s official. It doesn’t appear good.)

The poll chief, however, clarified that groups using the Transparency Server can continue receiving results during the suspension. “Tuloy ang pagtanggap nila; hindi lang sila dapat nag-a-announce,” he said. (They can continue receiving results; they just shouldn’t announce these.)

Brillantes said the NBOC, which is composed of the Comelec en banc, will proclaim new senators on Thursday, May 16. (Watch more in the video below.)

The Comelec’s Transparency Server is mirrored on the Rappler website. As of Thursday, at least 76% of election returns have been transmitted to the Comelec-Rappler Transparency Server.

The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) questioned the decision. This would result in a lack of transparency in the transmission of the remaining election results, according to Eric Alvia of Namfrel.

In the 2010 presidential elections, the Comelec stopped the transparency server after the transmission of at least 91% ERs. In previous manual elections, the Comelec stopped the parallel count after the unofficial results from at least 90% ERs. – with reports from Aries Rufo/Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.