MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday assured the public that it would send replacement markers immediately after incidents of blotting pens were reported during overseas absentee voting (OAV) in Philippine missions around the world.
"Papalitan namin 'yun (We will replace those) and we still have time and election officers are already ready also to purchase kung kukulangin pa rin (if it not enough)," said Frances Aguindadao-Arabe, director of Comelec's Education and Information Department.
She said excess markers from the 2013 and 2016 elections could still be used as "they are still in very good condition."
Arabe said they first learned about the problem during the OAV, which started in April. She, however, did not specify which post experienced this.
"It was used during the overseas absentee voting, 'yung pen na 'yun so mayroong nag-smudge sa ating [voting] machine (a machine was smudged with ink) and then we had to replace some of the machines," she said.
She said contingency vote counting machines were on standby to replace the VCMs that are being used by the posts.
She said bleeding inks might stain VCM scanners and there’s a danger that ballots won’t be read by the machine.
Arabe could not immediately say how many markers are needed to replace the problematic ones.
"I don't have the exact figures right now pero kung lahat naman ng polling centers, kung ilan 'yan, mayroon kaming naka-allot (But we have allotment for all polling centers)," she said.
With just 10 days before the midterm polls, Arabe said they are more concerned now with providing the right pen and for the elections to run smoothly.
As to the liability of the supplier, Arabe said it’s a matter to be dealt with separately later on.