Good to retire VCMs used in Halalan 2022, says Comelec commissioner

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2022 02:04 PM | Updated as of May 15 2022 02:24 PM

Members of the Electoral Board and poll watchers conduct their final testing and sealing of vote counting machines at Melencio M. Castelo Elementary School in Quezon City on May 3, 2022, five days before the national elections. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Members of the Electoral Board and poll watchers conduct their final testing and sealing of vote counting machines at Melencio M. Castelo Elementary School in Quezon City on May 3, 2022, five days before the national elections. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Citing the number of years that they have been used, the vote counting machines utilized during the May 9 polls may be up for retirement, Commission on Elections Commissioner George Garcia said Sunday.

"Kung ako’y andiyan sa pa Comelec sa mga darating na panahon, definitely, ako personally, dapat retired na 'yang mga machine na 'yan. Tama na 'yung dahilan na talagang nakatatanda na itong ating mga makina na ito. Madami na daw pong gamit, Ilang beses na nating ginamit," Garcia told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(If I'm still in Comelec during the next elections, personally, I think these machines definitely must be retired already. It's enough reason that these are already old and have been used several times.)

Of the 106,174 VCMs used during the last polls, around 1,800 encountered some problems. There were around 900 that were found to be defective, while some 200 nationwide were replaced, said Garcia.

Acting Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco has said that 99.2 percent of all VCMs functioned on election day.

Garcia noted that transmission of results has been quick this time because they improved the system and equipment, following the glitch experienced in 2019. 

Aside from coordinating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology, their advisory council, and the telcos, the Comelec also trained the election personnel, he said.

According to Garcia, experts have said that each VCM can only take up to 10,000 ballots. And so far, the existing machines have been used in 3 or 4 elections already, including during the conduct of road shows and final testing and sealing process.

"Baka nga malapit na tayo sa limit na hanggang doon lang magamit yung mga makina," he said.

(We may be nearing the limit already on the use of these machines.)

The only concern for him is the budget for the replacement of the VCMs.

"Sana nandun yung pagnanais ng Kongreso na mabigyan kami ng sapat na budget," said Garcia.

(I hope Congress is also considering to give the Comelec enough budget.)

Despite the problems encountered, Garcia reiterated that the Philippines "had a very credible election" even as he guaranteed that they are not disregarding the issues raised on voting day.

Unofficial tally of votes showed that former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio leading the presidential and vice presidential races.

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