MANILA, Philippines - Residents and supporters of a local candidate are barricading a house in Antipolo City, Rizal province, where 65 "missing" Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines are being stored.
Felipe de Leon, owner of the house and a PCOS machine technician, said he was told by his hiring agency, Placewell Placement Agency, that he should turnover the voting machines to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after the electronic transmission of votes.
"Ang protocol dapat ang machine nasa polling precinct. Dapat nga doon ako matutulog dahil aantayini ko ang courier, pero nag-text nga ang agency na kailangan dalhin sa Comelec," De Leon told ABS-CBN News correspondent Doland Castro in an interview.
However, De Leon said that the Comelec refused to receive the machines from him and was told to bring them instead to the Smartmatic-TIM.
Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told ANC in a phone interview that the machines should be collected by the Smartmatic-TIM after the elections.
Antipolo City poll officer Arnulfo Pioquinto, meanwhile, was clueless of what happened with the machines. He added that it's not the Comelec's duty to accept the machines.
Smartmatic-TIM's spokesman Gene Gregorio, meanwhile, declined to give any statement about the incident, saying the information about the 65 machines was still raw.
Supporters of a local candidate, meanwhile, barricaded the house of De Leon after finding out that the machines are being store there.
De Leon clarified that he and the other technicians deployed in Antipolo City do not intend to anything with the PCOS machines, aside from making sure that they will not be misplaced.
"Gusto ko lang linawin, ang mga technician walang kasalanan dito. Iyong placement [agency] ang sisisihin ko. Kung hindi nag-text ang placement [agency] na dalhin sa Comelec dapat ang mga technician nasa kanya kanyang polling precincts," he said. -- Report from Doland Castro, ABS-CBN News