The Supreme Court (SC) changed into asked on Wednesday (April 24) to nullify a Commission on Elections (Comelec) rule that bans the use of digital cameras and cellular telephones in polling precincts in the May thirteen countrywide and local elections.

Supreme Court of the Philippines (MANILA BULLETIN)


In a petition filed by numerous organizations, the SC was additionally requested to compel the Comelec to spark off the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) within the vote counting machines (VCMs) as a security measure on the integrity of votes cast.

The SC is on its selection-writing recess till May 31. It is ready to preserve a unique complete court session on May three to planned at the outcomes of the 2018 bar examinations.

It became now not acknowledged without delay if the petition filed against the Comelec could be taken up on May 3, or if a separate special session might be referred to as to tackle the petition.

The petition changed into filed with the aid of AES Watch, Mata Sa Balota, Citizens’ Crime Watch, One Vote Our Hope, Buklod Pamilya, Capitol Christian Leadership, Latter Rain Harvest Ministries and Upper Room Brethren Church, and numerous person petitioners.

The petitioners said the ban on using digital cameras and mobile telephones changed into contained in General Instructions issued by using the Comelec in Resolution No. 10088 issued for the 2016 elections.

They stated the ban “has a chilling effect… on each watcher and voter… without specifying the start time and cease time of the prohibition.”

They pointed out that the rule of thumb became towards the Automated Election Law, which permits political parties, candidates or citizen fingers to look at and take a look at the polling machines to make certain that the system is operating properly.

Citing previous Comelec instructions, the petitioners said the poll frame had allowed the taking of photos of the court cases and incidents supplied that the secrecy and sanctity of votes are covered.

The ban, they delivered, “suppresses the right of watchers and members of the general public to take pictures of the complaints and incidents pursuant to the Omnibus Election Code and its amendments.”

On VVPAT, the petitioners advised the SC the Comelec “even made topics worse by using remodeling the VVPAT so that respondent Smartmatic Total Information Management becomes the auditor of the VVPAT that is the opposite of the SC’s ruling empowering electorate to audit the VVPAT and now not the alternative way around.”

VVPAT consists of bodily paper data of voter ballots as citizens have cast them on an electronic vote casting device.

It allows each voter to affirm whether or not the machine forged the vote correctly primarily based on the selection of the voter, thereby making sure the integrity of the elections.
Among the essential topics pleaded inside the petition have been:

Respect the right of ‘watchers’ to ‘take photos of the complaints and incidents’ in accordance with Section 179 of the Omnibus Election Code and the amplification of the equal right in which includes ‘members of the public’ pursuant to the Electoral Reforms Law (Republic Act № 7166).
“Honestly put in force the Supreme Court ruling on Voter Verified Paper
Audit Trail in GR № 222731 until the Audit Trail stage.
“Declare that the ban in opposition to ‘digital cameras and mobile telephones’ in Section 2(f) of Resolution № 10088 applies best until the near of polls.
“Allow, after the near of polls, using ‘digital cameras and mobile phones’ to audit the totality of votes in the same precinct after carambola or shuffling the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail receptacle.”