Govt urged to open vote-counting machine bidding to more vendors: PPCRV

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2022 11:12 AM | Updated as of May 16 2022 11:27 AM

Members of the Electoral Board process the precinct's ballots as voting ends at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Elementary School in Batac, Ilocos Norte on May09, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Members of the Electoral Board process the precinct's ballots as voting ends at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Elementary School in Batac, Ilocos Norte on May09, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Government should open the bidding process for votecounting machines to more vendors, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said Monday.

PPCRV chairperson Myla Villanueva made the remark following the widespread glitches on May 9, which resulted in voters and teachers staying in precincts until the next day.

"Technology moves very fast and this is not the only type of tech that is out there but our procurement laws disallow certain bidding. Of course, they want to have only credible bidders and we have rather large elections, not so many people can say we ran an elections that's P10-billion worth in 1 country as a single contract," Villanueva told ANC's Headstart.

"That's the limitation of our procurement law. We should find an exception for our elections so more bidders can come in and then we can make a proper decision...We also have to note we can’t but from any company. You have to have a relatively strong experience and track record."

The PPCRV has so far received 51 percent of election returns (ERs) "with a lot more coming in the next 2 days," Villanueva said.

As of Saturday, it recorded a 98.39 percent match rate between the second batch of the encoded physical copies of ERs and the electronically-transmitted results from the Commission on Elections’ transparency server. 

"The 1.6 percent mismatch it doesn’t mean it's the whole ballot not matching. Sometimes you know a volunteer is tired and may have a had a typo because we match this 2 times over. We look at the mismatches and in the next 2 days will be explained why there is a mismatch," she said.

There was "nothing unusual" in how fast the transmission of ERs was in this year's elections, Villanueva said. She added that the ERs in the 2019 midterm elections were transmitted faster than this year's elections.

"In 2019 the big story was a 7-hour glitch but in reality data was coming in, we just weren't seeing it in our servers while other servers were seeing it," she said.

"The rate of transmissions of 2019 was actually faster than 2022... We opened the data to as many experts as possible who concluded the same thing: That there was nothing unusual in the transmission."

The PPCRV chair she would be the "first one to speak" if there was an anomaly.

"Like in 2019 I challenged the Comelec immediately. It's not just me, our volunteers are very vocal," she said.

"By and large I would say as far as it is now, the data has been scruinized by so many people. I can certainly assure at this stage, it is quite regular."

Villanueva, meantime, said she would no longer serve as PPCRV chair for the next elections.

"While I would love to, I also believe the chair should only serve 2 elections. It is not a career, it’s a voluntary position. It would be great for more points of view, to hone the position to get stronger," she said.

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