Less than a year into the 2019 midterm elections and amid rumors of a so-called “no election” scenario, election watchdog Democracy Watch supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s assurance of a “clean and orderly” polls.
Citing the great strides introduced by the switch to the Automated Election System in the past three elections, the country can ill afford to go back to how things were, Democracy Watch Secretary General Claudette Guevara said in a statement.
“Transparency is a key principle in ensuring credible elections as it helps establish trust and confidence in the process by guaranteeing that the results reflect the true will of the people,” Guevara said.
The 2016 elections was widely believed to be the most credible in recent memory, a view attested by nationwide opinion polls and accounts of foreign observers although there is an ongoing protest filed by losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against the proclaimed winner Leni Robredo.
In a Pulse Asia survey conducted after the polls, more than 90 percent of respondents believed that the conduct of the exercise was fast, orderly, and peaceful.
By election night, some 86 percent of all votes had transmitted, something that was unheard of in the history of Philippine elections long marred by cheating and sluggishness.
“On May 2016, the world saw more than 44 million Filipinos troop to their respective polling precincts and made their voices heard through a process that has long been a cornerstone of our democracy. The faster conduct resulted in less instability and greater confidence in the process,” Guevara said.
Duterte’s assurance also came amidst a protracted and bitter electoral protest by Marcos.
“An election that is hailed as one of the most successful and credible in history should be above senseless politicking,” Guevara said.
Democracy Watch said a way to improve the polls, even more, is to invest on the retooling and building of an adequate IT infrastructure and developing the human resources for the Commission on Elections so it can fulfill its mandate.
“Such investments are also investments in our political stability,” Guevara said.