Ateneo survey says corrupt Comelec is ?weakest link? in election process

Eighty one percent of the respondents considered corrupt election officials as the top in a list of election weaknesses in the country.

The other options provided in the self-administered questionnaire include "unfulfilled promises of political leaders, slow counting of ballots, unthinking electorate, poor quality of candidates, failure of political parties to educate the voters, presence of armed groups, and the high cost of the campaign on the part of the candidates.”

The survey had 669 respondents — 538 students, 107 teachers and 24 non-teaching staff in the university's Jacinto campus.

It was conducted in March and April as baseline data for a "rejuvenation" of the  university's socio-political role. Neil Ryan Pancho, research panel head, said it is time for ADDU to see what its community stands for amid its dwindling role in society.

He cited that among the proof of the universities’ dwindling social role is its isolated and scattered extension program in the communities.

Around nine out of ten respondents agreed that "there are times when I am angry and frustrated at the elections.” Only 8 percent disagreed.

The respondents strongly agreed that Philippine election is costly and that overspending is a standard practice in the Philippines. They also strongly agreed that winners must be proclaimed via live broadcast.

Of the 669 respondents only 63, however, considered themselves highly knowledgeable of election process. More respondents – 258 –  believe they have low knowledge on electoral process. 

Television had the biggest following as a source of knowledge on the process as 88 percent of the respondents included it in a multiple response item.

One out of two is not in favor of absentee voting by OFWs and 57 percent are also not in favor of voting by mail of OFWs.

About 77 percent favored automated election while only around 60 percent disagree with voting by e-mail.

The research panel presented the results in a forum with the media Thursday at the Ateneo Jacinto campus.

Pancho said the survey results show that election problems are not with the electorate.  

The Comelec lacks efforts to educate voters, he said.

"But it is a longer process fraught with lapses starting from the campaign for first time voters to register to December to the winners' proclamation in June," he said.

MindaNews tried to get a Comelec official to issue a reaction to the findings but the office had closed for the day.