The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expects to finish the random manual audit (RMA) of the automated midterm elections in May within 15 days instead of the usual 20, Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said Monday.
"We are going to centralize the audit. Before, we held the audit at municipal level. Now, we will randomly select ballot boxes from the precincts and conduct the audit in Manila so that it will be open to public, [given] the greater media coverage," Guia told reporters at the sidelines of the RMA being done on the results of mock elections held on January 17.
"Last time [in 2016 polls], it took us 12 to 20 days. The rules we had then is that once the discrepancy reaches 10 [votes] at the precinct level, we will elevate it to the national office for verification. Half of the precincts were elevated, so we thought, Why not bring it directly here to Manila?" he added.
"With centralized audit, we expect to finish it within 15 days or earlier."
Guia said that for the May 2019 polls, a random selector software developed by one of Comelec’s partners, the Philippine Statistics Authority, would select the 715 precincts across the country which will be subjected to RMA.
"Sa batas, one ballot box per legislative district. But in order for us to come up with a more proportionate sample, the number of ballot boxes that will be used for RMA per legislative district will range from one to five, depending on the number of precincts per legislative district,” Guia said.
In the 2016 polls, Guia said that the RMA is 99.92 percent reflective of the results tabulated by the vote-counting machines.
“That number indicates that there is no systemic defect in the automated election system, na hindi nagsisinungaling ang automated election system in producing the results [of the election],” Guia said.
“Walang fixed na number [of percentage] na required ang batas. What the RMA seeks to conclude is that there is no systemic failure and deliberate cheating on the part of the machines,” he added.
Likewise, Guia assured the public that there will be no whitewashing in RMA process.
“We will report what we would see. Hindi natin pipiliting lumabas ang gusto nating lumabas [na resulta],”Guia said in closing.
The midterm election is scheduled on May 13. —KBK, GMA News