According to political analysts, the Election Commission (EC) should end its probe into a spoiled ballot given to a Filipino voter in Singapore last week or risk losing its credibility.
“The problem of the so-called pre-shaded ballot in Singapore needs to be addressed immediately by Kamlek, otherwise, the incident will put it in a bad light,” said Marlon M. Villarin, professor of political science at the University of Santo Thomas. Said a Viber message over the weekend. Otherwise, the integrity of the election results will be tarnished.
A Singapore-based Filipino claimed in a Facebook post that he received a pre-shaded ballot that went viral last week.
The Philippine embassy in Singapore said it was aware of a spoiled ballot given to a voter inadvertently during Monday’s election, calling it an “isolated incident”.
“This report is disturbing and should be taken seriously,” Jean Ensinas-Franco, professor of political science at the University of the Philippines (UP), said in a Facebook Messenger chat.
“Elections should not only be implemented but also considered legitimate by selectors and address such reports to reassure the public that Kamlek has zero-tolerance for electoral fraud,” he added.
Election Commissioner Jorge Erwin M. Garcia said they were investigating the incident.
“We really should investigate this incident so that it does not happen again and find out why this wasted ballot was given to the voters,” he told CNN Philippines last week.
He added that the ballot should have been segregated and kept in an envelope for the lost ballot “so we must get that answer in the next few days.”
Cleo Ann A. Calimbahin, an associate professor at the University of De la Salle, said the incident could have been caused by a human error.
“Our embassy officials have been appointed to conduct overseas automated voting even though they continue to perform their other duties,” he said in an e-mail. “I have observed overseas automated voting in other countries and considering the extent of manpower at the embassy, human error is possible.”
Mr Garcia has previously said that members of election boards abroad should be given the benefit of the doubt because of how tedious their responsibilities can be.
Last week, Davao City Mayor and Vice-President Baji Sara Duterte-Carpio urged Kamlek to investigate similar allegations of electoral irregularities in Dubai and Singapore. He said reports of pre-shaded ballots were “generally disturbing”.
“Even if the embassy says it was a mistake and an isolated incident, why it happened and how it was remedied must be explained,” said Maria Ella. Atienza, who also teaches political science at UP, said in a Viber message
“Government officials and staff must ensure that the process is carried out properly and, of course, all voters must be vigilant and report any irregularities they see with proper evidence.”
The movement against disinformation called on Kamlek and all concerned government departments not only to warn the people against spreading false news but more importantly, to investigate these incidents thoroughly and thoroughly, “the group said in a statement.
“All public institutions are reminded that its exclusive master is the sovereign people, and that it should act only in the best interests of the public service,” it added.
Kamlek called last week’s incident in Singapore “fake news” and warned the public against spreading false information.
In Sweden, at least three Filipino voters received two ballots from the Philippine embassy there.
“Whether the incidents are isolated, or worse, intentional, Kamlek must faithfully and willingly abide by his order to uphold the sanctity of the ballot,” the group said. – John Victor d. Ordonez And Alyssa Nicole and. Tan