Comelec exec: ‘Only’ a few VCMs, SD cards defective during final testing
MANILA – With only 355 defective vote counting machines and 44 defective SD cards which have to replaced following the ongoing final testing and sealing of the machines nationwide, the Commission on Elections claim it is "all systems go" for the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections.
“Oo naman all systems go na tayo. We’re just waiting for the day of the election.” Commissioner Marlon Casquejo told media during the poll body’s weekly press conference. He chairs the Coemelc Steering Committee.
“Sigurado po tayo, magkakaroon po tayo ng election. There will be no failure of elections when it comes to the vote counting machines. We have laid down all the contingency procedures. Worse comes to worst, for example, on election day naubusan talaga ’yung ating contingency machines, the election will continue. Nasa contingency procedure kasi andoon pa rin po ’yung ating balota.
“Failure of election is not an option sa Comelec.”
Earlier in the press conference, Casquejo updated media on the final testing and sealing of the VCMs, a requirement of the automated election law.
Casquejo reported that from May 2 to 5, 70,924 clustered precincts have done their FTS, which is about 67 percent of the 106,174 clustered precincts nationwide. Of that number, 56,864 clustered precincts have finished their FTS or about 54 percent. Around 25 percent or 14,060 are still pending.
Of those tested, 355 VCMs and 44 SD cards were defective and had to be replaced, representing 0.501 percent of VCMs and 0.041 percent of SD cards.
"We only have 355 defective VCMs that need to be replaced. As compared to 2019, masyado mababa ito because in 2019 on the first day of the FTS nagkaroon kaagad tayo ng 500 defective VCMs. Because na-repair, na-refurbish natin bumaba talaga. Out of the 70,000 we were able identify replacement VCMs of 355. That is less than 1 percent. Masyadong mababa," Casquejo added.
He said the common VCM defects had to to do with scanners and printers.
"I can assure the public na hindi po tayo magkakaproblmema sa ating vote-counting machines, although we only have 1100 contingency machines but with the rate na nangyayari dito is only 355 or 0.6 percent, kakayanin po nating contingency machines," Casquejo said, adding that there are eight VCM repair hubs nationwide that service defective machines.
Meanwhile, he dismissed social media posts advising voters not to shade oval on the reverse side of the ballot directly opposite the name of presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo because supposedly that will make sure Robredo’s vote is not counted.
“Well, totoong fake news ’yan. Kasi ’pag tiningnan mo ’yung balota, ’yung bilog, sa likod di naman siya tatama sa bilog din sa kabila ’yung sa party list. So magkahiwalay ’yan. Dulong dulo if you try to look at sample ballots namin even during the road show. Talagang di tatama," Casquejo said.
“That is fake. Totoong fake news.”
Commissioner George Erwin Garcia said there is also no complaint filed about that.
“As of today vinerify ko rin, wala rin kami nare-receive na complaint doon official complaint or formal complaint mula doon sa nagtest ng vote-counting machine allegedly from an office of a campaign manager of a presidential candidate regarding ’yung pag-shade na tatama sa likod. Kasi otherwise kung totoo ’yun malamang lamang na meron na nafile sa amin kaagad,” Garcia said.
“As of today wala kaming natatanggap. Talagang tamang tunay na fake new."
Casquejo said the poll body will investigate reports that electoral boards in Cotabato City are being replaced, pointing out that electoral board members who have already been certified by the Department of Science and Technology can no longer be replaced.
“Kasi kapag certified ka na ng DOST, hindi ka na pwedeng palitan. Kasi one of the requirements para makapag-serve ’yung electoral board, one of the members of the electoral board must be certified by the DOST. Kapag pinalitan ’yun ng di certified, magkakaprublema tayo doon. So we will investigate, we will verify how true ’yung mga na-train natin, bakit pinalitan or if there are grounds para palitan sila,” Casquejo said.
“Di mo pwedeng palitan ’yung certified ng DOST lalong lalo na pag ’yung 3 wala nang isang certified ng DOST."
Garcia updated media that with 4 days left before the elections, only 13 percent of the voters information sheet which will guide voters on election day has yet to be distributed.
“Likewise, as far as the distribution of the voters information sheet nationwide, we reached already as of today 87.05 percent representing 57,200, 456 out of 65,709,536 voters all around the country," Garcia said.