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Bayan Muna files complaint against exclusion of party-list votes in RMA

Bayan Muna Party-list has filed a complaint before the Commission on Elections over the exclusion of party-list votes in the Comelec's random manual audit (RMA) of the 2019 national and local elections.

The Comelec received the complaint signed by Bayan Muna counsel Cristina Yambot last Monday, June 3.

"We urgently pray that the party-list votes and the results of the party-list election in the randomly selected precincts be included in the random manual audit," Yambot said.

For Yambot, excluding the party-list votes from the RMA is a violation of Comelec Resolution No. 10525 that states all members of the House of Representatives, both district and party-list solons, must be included in the audit.

Yambot thus urged the Comelec to reconsider its decision, saying an audit of party-list votes may remove suspicion on the election's integrity.

"We believe that a check on the performance of the [vote counting machines] including the auditing of the party-list votes will ensure that the VCM accurately reads the back portion of the ballots, a major contentious issue during the last elections," Yambot said.

She also questioned the "centralization" of the random manual audit to one venue, at the Diamond Hotel, instead of tapping selected precincts. She said the VCMs may be tampered since no one witnessed its transportation to the Comelec site.

"The immediate conduct of the RMA in the selected precinct itself has been previously undertaken by Comelec and we see no reason why this practice was discontinued, not only because of the unnecessary expense of transporting these machines and the holding of the centralized RMA in a post hotel, but also because it generates suspicion that the machine may been tampered with while in transit," she said.

Opposition groups at the House have urged the Comelec to conduct a random manual audit on the votes cast during the midterm elections, raising claims of vote shaving in selected precincts. 

Several individuals also sought the same audit due to alleged “widespread instances of discrepancy between the votes in the ballot and the result reflected in the vote verification paper audit trail.” —LBG, GMA News