FAITH.e Coalition unifies religious sectors to promote credible elections

FAITH.e Coalition public relations photo
(L-R) Carlo Dino, General Secretary, Votenet Philippines; Bishop Evangelio Mercado, Chairman, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC); Bishop Efraim Fendero, Secretary General, World Evangelical Alliance (WEA); Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Auxillary Bishop of Manila; Bishop Noel Pantoja, Executive Director, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC); Salma Rasul, Executive Director, Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID); Reuben Abante, Senior Pastor, Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church & Ministries; Edumundo “Toti” Casino, Past President, Philippine Computer Society; and Nanding Paunil, National Director, Prayer Life Ministries.

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – February 10, 2016: With less than 90 days to go before the national elections, various religious groups assembled to form the FAITH.e Coalition which advocates the full implementation of Republic Act 9369 or Election Automation Law for an honest and credible electoral process. In its full implementation, the R.A 9369 mandates the activation of all the security features of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) voting machines and other safety nets that were not implemented in the past 2010 and 2013 elections.

FAITH.e, which stands for Fairness, Accuracy, Integrity, Transparency and Honesty in Elections, is a coalition of religious leaders, church groups and faith-based organizations comprising of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Muslim members.

These religious groups have united to form an alliance that would ensure that the authority given by God to elect government servants to the Filipinos will be applied and protected. The coalition considers any effort to tamper with the electoral process to be not just illegal but also an immoral act that undermines God’s will for the Filipino people.

The coalition’s primary concern is the present state of the automated election system (AES), particularly the status of the cases filed with the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court against the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the supplier of the PCOS machines Smartmatic-TIM for removing certain security features specified in the Election Automation Law when the AES was implemented. PCOS will again be used when the Filipino voters practice their right of suffrage on May 9 to elect into office the country’s next president, vice president, senators, representatives and local officials.

“FAITH.e Coalition appeals to the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court to decide upon the cases filed against COMELEC and Smartmatic-TIM with a sense of urgency. We fear that if the cases will not be decided on immediately, the full restoration of all security features of the PCOS machines will not happen in time for the 2016 elections. We believe that the absence of these security features in the AES violates the law of the land and will place the credibility of the 2016 elections in doubt,” Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance Bishop Efraim Tendero shares.

The coalition’s objective is to ensure that the COMELEC will restore all the security features mandated in RA 9369, particularly the following:

  • Voter-verifiable paper audit trail
  • Implementation of a truly random manual audit after the elections
  • Source code review that will allow more interested parties to participate
  • Use of digital signatures of teachers/Board of Election Inspectors
  • Ballot verification through the use of ultra-violet detectors to check against fake ballots

“We trust that the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court will uphold the law and protect the sanctity of the vote of every Filipino. We pray that they will allow God to use them to ensure that fairness, accuracy, integrity, transparency and honesty will prevail in the coming elections,” Bishop Tendero added.

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