Ex-VP, watchdog to bring Comelec to UN

Dean Lozarie

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Backed by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, an election watchdog will complain vs Comelec before UN

'DEFECTIVE' SYSTEM. A watchdog will charge Comelec before UN over poll automation. File photo by John Javellana

MANILA, Philippines – An election watchdog on Thursday, May 2, said it will file a complaint against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) before the United Nations (UN) over alleged violations of international law.

The Comelec failed to ensure the “free expression of the voters’ will under the defective Automated Election System (AES),” the group AES Watch said in a statement. 

AES Watch, which will file the complaint before the UN Human Rights Committee, said the Philippines violated international law “to which the government is a signatory.”

The complaint will be filed by 30 members of AES Watch and “other eminent persons,” including former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo. The group will be represented by lawyers Harry Roque Jr of the UP College of Law and Gilbert Andres.

The watchdog will discuss the complaint in detail in a press conference Friday, May 3.

AES Watch has repeatedly criticized the AES used by the Comelec. Last year, it asked the Supreme Court to stop the poll body from buying precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the 2013 elections, saying the contract for the machines violated regulations on public bidding.

In February, the watchdog gave the Comelec a failing grade for its preparations for the May 13 polls.

AES Watch, along with other watchdogs, has also blasted the Comelec for failing to open the PCOS source code to a local review. Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes, on the other hand, has criticized them for painting supposedly unfounded doomsday scenarios. (Read: FAQs: Why worry about PCOS code?– Rappler.com

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