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The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) has called on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to be more transparent amid concerns over several issues in the preparations for the upcoming elections in May.

In an official statement released yesterday, the body reiterated the need to secure the elections and ensure that it is conducted in a fair and free manner.

Among the issues raised is the prohibition of election observers and accredited citizens’ arms of the ballot printing at the National Printing Office and in the operations at the Comelec Sta. Rosa warehouse.

“Stakeholders’ request for information on the regional hubs which the COMELEC plans
to set up with DOST and DICT, and to allow observation on election day, remains
pending. NAMFREL recommends opening up the facilities for observation during the
election period until termination of operations,” the statement read.

NAMFREL also recommends the speedy resolution of the issue of the alleged hacking reported on January 10, which may impact on the credibility of the election results, and which has the potential of inviting questions on the ability of the Comelec to secure the elections.

They also cited the lack of guidelines as of this date to open up observation by accredited election monitors of the operations in the various data centers where the Comelec Central
Server, backup server, and the transparency server are located, including access to
regional hubs.

“NAMFREL understands the challenges that the Comelec is facing as it prepares for the
elections given the varying COVID-19 alert levels. However, this should not be an
excuse to curtail observation activities and to deny access to pertinent data,” they added.

The group suggested that COMELEC livestream activities such as ballot printing, , logistics, and Pre-election Logic and Accuracy Test (preLAT) and also called on the commission to extend due diligence to the pre and post election period.