Comelec starts preparing for Random Manual Audit for the 2013 elections

from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.27
The Commission on Elections (Comelec), through Resolution no. 9538, reappointed the members of the 2010 Random Manual Audit Committee (RMAC) to carry out the random manual audit for the 2013 automated elections:

1. Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa, PPCRV Chair, and Member, Comelec Advisory Council (CAC), as Chair;
2. Ms. Agnes T. Carreon, Officer-in-Charge, Internal Audit Office, Comelec, as member; and
3. Ms. Carmelita N. Ericta, Administrator, National Statistics Office (NSO), as Member.

The Commission on Audit (COA) was originally named a member of the 2010 random manual audit committee, until COA withdrew their membership from the said auditing committee less than two months before the May 2010 elections.

The Random Manual Audit is an integrity feature in the 2007 Automated Election Law to check the accuracy of the automated election system. Section 29 of Republic Act 9369 -- the amended Philippine Election Automation Law -- provided for the use of the Random Manual Audit (RMA): “Where the AES (Automated Election System) is used, there shall be a random manual audit in one precinct per congressional district randomly chosen by the Commission in each province and city. Any difference between the automated and manual count will result in the determination of root cause and initiate a manual count for those precincts affected by the computer or procedural error."

There were many issues raised against the RMA for the 2010 elections, including: late release of general instructions for the RMA (10 days before election day); delay or non-conduct of RMA in selected precincts; RMA report not specifying which precincts were audited and how accuracy rate per region was arrived at. Local and foreign academic, professional, election monitoring and IT organizations also raised issues with the methodology used by the RMAC as well as the variance in the machine vs. manual count deemed acceptable by the committee.

The Comelec resolution was signed on October 9, 2012, a day before the scheduled Comelec hearing of Namfrel's petition for accreditation for the 2013 elections. Namfrel is petitioning the Comelec to allow it to officially assist the Commission as accredited citizens' arm in the conduct of the Random Manual Audit, on the strength of its decades of experience in conducting parallel vote counts, and the qualifications of its members and officers that include some of the country's top accounting, management, and IT experts.

(Various sources)