Kontra Daya disinformation undermines elections, poll workers

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) slammed the group Kontra Daya for its "overactive imagination and conspiracy theories" about alleged widespread fraud and failure of elections in the just-concluded national and local elections.

DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a news release on Sunday that the self-styled watchdog should instead focus on writing crime or political thrillers.

“Kontra Daya’s report on the 2022 election belong in the fiction section of major bookstores or libraries for being the product of a wild imagination,” he said.

He called Kontra Daya’s claim of alleged “failure of the automation election system to guard the sanctity of the ballot” as downright irresponsible since it has no basis whatsoever.

He explained that the source code, the human-readable copy of the software running the Automated Election System (AES) of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), was subjected to a thorough review by all political parties, cause oriented groups, and information technology exports.

Under the AES law, the code must be checked by all parties at least three months before election day.

“The source code review actually started way back in October 2021. The PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting), Namfrel (National Movement for Free Elections), all the major political parties, and IT (information technology) experts did a review of the software. They found no irregularities and determined that everything is in order. Don’t you think the opposition or the Comelec citizen’s arms will just keep quiet if they found anything wrong with the software running the AES?” Malaya said.

Malaya also said that Kontra Daya’s claim of “widespread failure of election” is baseless and an outright lie.

He said only 14 villages in three municipalities in Lanao del Sur had failure of elections.

“What widespread failure of elections are they talking about?” he said.

He said the group’s shameless claim is an insult to the more 37,000 public school teachers, government employees, and policemen who did invaluable service to ensure the successful conduct of the elections.

“Our poll workers did extended service to allay the fears and anxiety of some voters and ensure that the polls are successful and yet Kontra Daya claims that there was widespread failure of elections? Its preposterous!” he added.

He also slammed Kontra Daya for claiming widespread irregularity and violence when in fact, the 2022 poll exercise is the safest since the start of the automated election system.

“The record speaks for itself. There were only 20 validated election related violent incidents this year compared to 60 incidents in 2019 and 133 incidents in the 2016 polls,” Malaya said.

Malaya also cited that the designation of the Philippine National Police Focal Persons for Media Security in each city and province resulted in zero incidents of violence against media workers in the 2022 elections.

“For the first time in the history of Philippine elections, not a single incident of violence against a journalist or media worker was reported. It’s the safest election we have had so far,” he said.

“If there was widespread failure of elections, violence and intimidation, how come 83.1 percent or more than 56 million registered voters turned out and were able to vote on election day? This is the highest voter turnout in the history of our country. This record is impressive given that the polls were held during a pandemic,” he said.

He added that while there were 915 vote counting machines (VCMs) that were defective and needed to be replaced, the total accounted for less than 1 percent of the machines used.

Malaya said that there are also safeguards or redundancies in the voting process such as the parallel vote counting and random manual audit by poll watchdogs. such as the PPCRV, which has so far produced a 98.73 percent match rate.

The PPCRV has been validating the results of the May 9 elections using the physical copies of election returns and checking them against the numbers coming out of the transparency servers of Comelec.

A 45-day random manual audit of ballots is also being conducted by poll watchdogs Lente and Namfrel to check the accuracy of the VCMs.

The Comelec and election watchdogs have reported a preliminary report of 99.9 percent accuracy.

“If ever there was widespread disinformation and fake news in these elections, it’s being perpetrated by Kontra Daya and its sponsors whose main purpose is to undermine the integrity of the election process in order to silence the true will of the people,” he said.

Malaya said that Kontra Daya seeks to cast doubt on the integrity of the elections in order to sow chaos and confusion using fake news and disinformation in an attempt to overturn the results.

“The agenda behind Kontra Daya is as clear as day. Bumenta na 'yan. Hindi na magpapaloko pa sa inyo ang publiko (It’s an old ploy. The public can no longer be fooled),” he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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