Comelec on polls: 'We outperformed our expectations'

MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista hailed Comelec workers on Friday, May 20, for beating their own targets in the May 9 polls.

"I always try to have a positive attitude toward everything, but I’d like to think that we outperformed our expectations," Bautista told reporters on Friday, a day after the Comelec proclaimed senators and party-list groups.

Bautista also explained why he delivered what sounded like a valedictory speech during the proclamation of 12 new senators on Friday.

"I just wanted to use it as an opportunity to thank the Comelec team who contributed to make sure that this election is credible," the elections chief said as he returned to their headquarters in Intramuros, Manila, after almost two weeks of canvassing at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

During his speech at the PICC on Thursday, May 19, Bautista cited several Comelec achievements in the May 9 elections. 

The elections chief pointed out the transmission of 96.14% of election results to the Transparency Server, the basis of the unofficial tallies of media groups and election watchdogs.

He said the transmission rate in 2010 was 90%, while in 2013, it was 76%.

High voter turnout, too

He also cited the 31.45% voter turnout during this year’s overseas absentee voting. This number represented 437,706 overseas absentee voters.

This turnout of overseas absentee voters is the highest after 2004, the first year the Philippines held overseas absentee voting.

On top of these, the total voter turnout for this year’s election was 81.5%

This is a record-breaking figure at least in the context of automated elections.

Bautista earlier said the voter turnout in the 2013 elections, the Philippines' second automated polls, was around 77%.

In the 2010 polls, which was the country's first automated elections, he said the voter turnout was around 74%.

Bautista said: "The fast transmission rate, high voter turnout, swift counting and canvassing, are concrete affirmations that the Commission generally outperformed this year, notwithstanding the challenges we encountered, including complying with the Supreme Court directive of printing voter receipts less than two months before the May elections."

Despite this statement from the Comelec, the camp of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr has insinuated cheating in this year’s elections. 

Marcos' supporters trooped to the Comelec’s main office in Intramuros, Manila, on Friday, May 20, to file a complaint against technology provider Smartmatic over the unauthorized change in an election-related hash code. 

Former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr, a consultant of Marcos, has dismissed this issue as minor. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. 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.

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