Watchdog blames Comelec, Smartmatic for poll glitches

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Members of the group Kontra Daya on Wednesday held a rally near the tightly guarded compound of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) to demand that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic be held accountable for the glitches encountered during the May 9 polls.

The PICC is the venue for the national canvassing of votes for the senatorial and party-list races.

In a statement, Kontra Daya said the Philippines should ban Smartmatic from future elections.

The group claimed 2,363 or 2.55 percent of the 92,509 vote counting machines (VCMs) malfunctioned during election day.

"Comelec and Smartmatic are to blame for the VCM malfunctions that were reported in many areas around the country. These failures were in the form of non-functioning VCMs, rejected ballots, paper jams, overheating and machine shutdowns," Kontra Daya said.

The group also scored transmission problems encountered in several areas in the country.

Smartmatic spokesperson Atty. Karen Jimeno, however, clarified that only 188 VCMs had been replaced on election day.

"It is not true that 2,500 VCMs malfunctioned and needed replacing, as some media outfits have reported," Jimeno said in a statement.

"It is important to note that while there had been a total of 3,110 calls for VCM support, 2,922 of those tickets merely had to do with procedural or user issues that had been easily resolved."