Namfrel Davao says ‘quick count’ won’t be quick

Eduardo Robillo, Namfrel-Nassa Davao chair, said they have less time to prepare after the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) delayed accreditation of Namfrel's application for quick count.

He said they would rather sacrifice speed than accuracy.

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, Namfrel was able to count only the votes from election returns of 702 out of the 2,622 election returns they were able to gather as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Davao City has 3,585 precincts .

Namfrel, which has been doing quick counts since the 1985 snap elections, almost did not get the accreditation as the Social Action Center (SAC) of the Catholic church also applied for its own accreditation.

Robillo said their primary concern is that they are undermanned.

He said they drew fewer volunteers this time with only about 300 serving more than 3,000 precincts in Davao City. He cited that one reason was they were expecting more reliance on the computerized system, which they have to shelve off for technical reasons.

He said they have a problem with equipment as they have to await arrival from Manila of an alternative system to use in the quick count after finding out incompatibility of computer system.

Robillo also cited lesser financial and organizational support amid withdrawal of local sponsors over the delayed accreditation by the Comelec, among other problems.

He cited that the Archdiocese of Davao did not push through with an all-out support to the quick count effort, except for some parishes that threw in contributions like space for the quick count center.

Robillo also cited politicking in Namfrel's national office as among the reasons of the delay. He said Namfrel chair Jose Concepcion was replaced due to perceived political partisanship.

Robillo admitted having received his appointment as chair only on Wednesday.

"We are doing best efforts here. At least we assure that we could get 100 percent of the election returns and we can do the count at least ahead of Comelec because we will be free from partisan intervention," he told reporters.

Robillo admitted the quick count is experiencing financial difficulties to the extent of using some personal resources just to be able to move ahead.

He said the seed money sent by Namfrel and Nassa have already dried up, and they are thus relying on the generosity of the Dabawenyos to push through with the counting.

Robillo said they are still open to contributions and volunteers for the quick count.

He said it would be an embarrassment and a big let down to the people of Davao if the citizens quick count will not be pushed through. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)