Observers agree on Philippines election ‘transparency’

Manila, May 11 (EFE).- The elections held Monday in the Philippines took place with “transparency,” a group of international observers said Wednesday, despite highlighting problems that affected the “trustworthiness” of the process, such as the lack of privacy when voting or the financing system.

“The preliminary result of the vote represents the will of the Filipino people, although a number of concerns have been raised about the integrity of the process that must be urgently addressed,” one of the researchers from the Asian Network for Free Elections said at a press conference.

The network’s observers, who visited almost 200 voting centers Monday, celebrated the high turnout on election day where the next president, vice president, dozens of senators and thousands of provincial and local positions were elected.

Presidential candidate “Bongbong” Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, swept the polls by doubling the number of votes for his closest follower, according to the provisional count. He achieved an absolute majority, something that had not happened since his father was deposed in 1986 during a popular revolution.

Despite the process running “generally with calm and transparency,” the observers said in their preliminary report about a dozen serious faults, such as the absence of financial regulation in the campaign “which gives an advantage to the wealthiest candidates” and can lead to “corruption.”

The use of state resources observed by the network grants “advantages” to those in power, as well as the “lack of seriousness” when it comes to checking the identities of voters or providing them with a “private” place to deposit their ballot, are other of the highlighted problems.

Observers also affect the “common” purchase of votes carried out “in almost all corners of the country” and “by the majority of the parties” that attended the elections

During the day, almost 1,900 voting machines, a large part in Manila, suffered technical problems, a greater number than that detected in the 2016 elections, and which caused queues of up to 12 hours to deposit the vote in some polling stations.

Violence, although less than in previous elections, remains a problem in the Philippine elections, where six voting-related deaths were recorded Monday.

The network also denounced the delay in the response of the Electoral Commission to address a series of complaints filed months ago that called for the annulment of Marcos’s candidacy, dismissed one day after the vote.

The next president, who will replace current leader Rodrigo Duterte, is scheduled to be sworn in on Jun. 30 for a single six-year term. EFE


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