'Walang na-disenfranchise': Comelec insists VCM glitches 'not significant'

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 10 2022 05:30 PM

Electoral board members, generate the number of votes from their precinct at the Sta. Lucia Elementary School in San Juan at the end of voting during the national and local elections on May 9, 2022. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News
Electoral board members, generate the number of votes from their precinct at the Sta. Lucia Elementary School in San Juan at the end of voting during the national and local elections on May 9, 2022. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday insisted that the impact of defective vote counting machines (VCM) on voters was "not significant" when compared to the glitches encountered in the previous elections. 

In a press conference Tuesday, Comelec commissioner Marlon Casquejo reported that 915 VCMs malfunctioned during election day Monday.

Casquejo, chairman of the election's steering committee, said the malfunctions did not affect many voters. 

"Masyadong maliit... If you try to compute, 915 VCM malfunctions, multiply it by average of 500 per registered voters, maliit lang 'yun as compared to the total number of 64 million plus registered voters," he said. 

Comelec acting spokesman Rex Laudiangco also said voters were not disenfranchised by the VCM glitches.

"Wala pong na disenfranchise despite the isolated issues on VCMs and the SD cards… All of these lessons will be taken to heart by the commission," he said.

Over 106,000 VCMs were deployed in clustered precincts nationwide. Casquejo said they already anticipated that some machines would encounter problems. 

"There's no such thing as perfect system. Even your cellphone bigla na lang nagha-hang kahit iPhone 'yan or any high-end cellphone. May mga ganun talaga. Over 106,000 VCMs ito, so out of that only 900 plus 'yung pumalpak… What's important is hindi siya significant kumpara noong 2019," Casquejo said. 

According to Casquejo, he would recommend the procurement of new election machines to replace the "aging" VCMs in time for the 2025 midterm elections.

"Kung ako lang, being an IT undergrad, kung ako lang ang masusunod wag na natin gamitin ito, kasi it would be the 4th time if we use this one. Even if we refurbish this baka 'yung mga component don di na available... That's why in 2025 maybe we can suggest or propose na bumuli tayo ng VCM or not necessarily VCM but any technology that the law allows," he said. 

Casquejo is set to retire on February 2025.

The country on Monday held its "historic" first national elections in a middle of a pandemic.

Bookmark the ABS-CBN News Halalan results page to see the partial unofficial tally of election returns.

For other updates, visit ABS-CBN News' live blog here.

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