Comelec extends voting hours of some precincts

ABS-CBN News

Voting extended until 6 p.m.

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has extended voting schedule by one hour at polling precincts which opened late on Monday due to problems with ballot machines.

"Only those polling precincts that started late, yun lang ang binibigyan ng pahintulot na mag-extend hanggang 6 p.m.," Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista told reporters.

Bautista also reiterated the rule that voters within 30 meters of the polling precinct 30 minutes before the polls close should still be allowed to cast their votes.

"Kailangan niya lang magpalista pero hahayaan siyang bumoto," he said. "That rule will also apply for those polling precincts na nag-extend until 6 p.m."

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) earlier urged the Comelec to extend polling hours in consideration of voting precincts that experienced glitches with ballot machines.

The PPCRV said technical problems disrupted elections at some polling precincts in:

Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat
Panaon, Misamis Occidental
Palo, MacArthur, San Miguel and Tacloban towns in Leyte
West City Elementary School in Dumaguete
Negros Oriental State University
Bohol
Marinduque
Antique
Infanta, Quezon
Aurora
Pasig
Dagupan, Pangasinan
Madaluyong
Silang, Cavite
Bataan

According to the citizens' arm of the Comelec, paper jams and other technical issues were also reported at some polling centers in Infanta, Quezon; Iba, Zambales; Virac, Catanduanes; Romblon and Camarines Sur, among others.

Due to these incidents, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista announced that polls will close at 6 p.m. instead of its initial schedule at 5 p.m., for precincts that opened voting at 9 a.m. onward.

Voters were advised by the PPCRV to just fill out their ballot and leave it to the safekeeping of the board of election inspectors if technical problems persist at their polling precinct.

The PPCRV also mentioned that their poll watchers were pulled out from several voting precincts in Cotabato City and Shariff Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

The poll watchers were placed in a safehouse after supposedly witnessing "massive cheating," particularly in the local race.

The PPCRV is set to release a statement on the issue later today. -- With reports from Ina Reformina and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

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