Poll found ‘Distrurbing’

A CATHOLIC prelate has lamented the “disturbing and frustrating” outcome of the senatorial elections, as he called for intensive voters’ education.

Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona said that voters’ education is the key to have good leaders who can truly be public servants, adding that the situation should challenge Catholics to be “more persistent” in changing the mindset and voting preferences of the public.

“We must take seriously the voters education beginning with our youths through our Catholic schools, parishes and youth organizations,” he said.

The archbishop issued the statement as the senatorial race is poised to be dominated by Malacanang allies.

Nevertheless, he lauded the generally peaceful midterm elections.

Tirona also appealed for prayers that those elected on the local and national level “must deliver what they promised during the campaign season.”

“We likewise pray and be vigilant that the important principle of checks and balances may not be eradicated. And may the elected leaders do their fresh mandate with dedication and unselfish service for the common good,” he said.

Meanwhile, the church-backed election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting distanced itself from calls to suspend the proclamation of winning senators in the midterm polls amid fraud allegations.

Myla Villanueva, PPCRV chairperson, suggested getting the transparency server audit logs was an option they are looking into.

She said that such action would help them determine what caused the seven-hour election results transmission delays on Monday night.

Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Church, was among those urging the Commission on Elections to clear issues first before declaring winning senators.

“As far as we are concerned that’s not our position. We just want to deal with the logs and tell the people what happened. We are going to look at the situation… and we will make sure that we can explain it to the public after we have read the logs,” she said.

The PPCRV has also requested access to the Comelec’s central server to match its data with those in the transparency server.

“I don’t think the Comelec will deny us that because they have been very transparent with the PPCRV,” Villanueva added.

Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez earlier said that there’s a need to resolve the issues “by an independent and impartial investigation.”

“Smartmatic and Comelec should be the subject of investigation,” he said.

However, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that they can’t heed such calls only because of a mere allegation.

“If an allegation of fraud were enough to suspend a proclamation then there would never be any proclamations … It’s not conducive to orderly elections,” he said.