A Comelec official proposes a working group against disinformation

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Comelec commissioner George Garcia speaks to the member of the press. John Eric Mendoza / INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Electoral Commissioner George Garcia wants the Electoral Commission (Comelec) to prosecute those who question the integrity of the upcoming May 9 general election.

“I will personally convince the commission en banc next week to create a task force against false information,” he told a media forum on Sunday.

He took issue with claims circulating on social media that the election results have already been decided because the ballot papers to be used in the automated elections have been tampered with.

“Against anything that would undermine the integrity of the [electoral] process, we have to fight back,” said Garcia, a practicing election lawyer before being named a polling commissioner last month.

He urged the public to rely only on “trustworthy” sources of information and to “avoid fake news”.

Last week, Comelec set up a task force to investigate alleged vote-buying incidents. Commissioner Aimee Ferolino was put in charge of Task Force Kontra Bigay.

Comelec included in the working group representatives from the Department of Justice, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine News Agency, the National Bureau of investigation, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Comelec has deployed at least 80% of election supplies to be used for overseas voting which will begin on April 10.

Garcia said all election supplies would have reached embassies and consulates across the country before voting begins next week.

He said two commissioners were currently overseas overseeing the “training” of embassy staff who would organize the overseas vote.

On its website, Comelec said that 1,697,215 registered foreign voters will vote for national candidates from April 10 to May 9.

He said 46 Filipino foreign posts will use an automated voting system, while another 46 posts will use the manual voting system.

Garcia said they would consider the out-of-country vote a huge success if the turnout exceeds 1 million.

Out-of-country voting recorded a turnout of 31% in the 2016 presidential elections and 18% in the 2019 midterm elections. INQ

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