'Let Comelec explain first,' says Duterte on faulty vote counting machines

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2019 05:49 PM

A voter manually submits his ballot after the vote-counting machine at the Tomas Morato Elementary School in Quezon City, malfunctioned, May 13, 2019. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday the Commission on Elections should explain to the public malfunctions of vote counting machines (VCMs) that delayed the voting in some areas.

Speaking to reporters after voting in his hometown Davao City, Duterte said it was still too early to seek an investigation into the machine malfunctions that have marred Monday's elections.

"Let Comelec explain first to the people before we even initiate a sort of investigation," the President told reporters in an ambush interview.

"That is in cognizance of our separation of powers," he added.

The poll body on Monday admitted that problems with vote counting machines tripled this year compared to the 2016 presidential elections.

As of 2 p.m., 400 to 600 out of the 85,000 VCMs in precincts across the country encountered glitches, while the total number of machine problems in the 2016 elections was at 188, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a press conference.

“In the overall scheme of things, that is a small number but compared to 2016, the figure is jarring,” he said.

The Comelec has deployed replacement machines, but is still “figuring out” what went wrong with the faulty ones, he said.

“These are the VCMs we used in 2016. I cannot rule out that possibility that these malfunctioned because of that,” Jimenez said when asked if the VCMs were malfunctioning because they were not brand new units.

“But we still need to find out if that’s true,” he said.

Among those who encountered problems with glitches in vote counting machines are former Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is running for Makati representative, and reelectionist Senators Nancy Binay and Grace Poe.
 

- with a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News