THE Commission on Elections said that while there may have been glitches, there were no anomalies in the conduct of the May 13 mid-term elections.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez issued the statement in the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for the poll body to stop using the Smartmatic Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) in elections and look for another system which is “free from fraud.”
“Nagkaroon ng problema sa SD (Secure Digital) cards, nagkaroon ng problema sa VCMs, problema sa marker…ito yung mga sinasabing aberya. Nagkaroon tayo ng aberya. Pero walang pagkakataon na napatunayan na nagkaroon ng maling bilang at nagkaroon ng maling proclamation. Walang anomalya. Hindi mo naman mape-perfect dahil 85,000 na VCMs ang ginamit, kaya meron kang mae-encounter na malfunction, but in every case, naresolve naman po natin 100 percent,” he said.
Jimenez was referring to the 961 VCMs which malfunctioned and 1,665 SD cards which were corrupted on Election Day despite passing prior tests.
The damaged VCMs and SD cards have all been replaced, but it took the Comelec some time, resulting in long queues in voting centers which took some voters two to three hours of waiting before casting their vote.
Likewise, Jimenez won’t say that the Comelec made the wrong decision in purchasing the VCMs supplied by Smartmatic in 2016 which were also used in the 2019 polls.
“The VCMs are undergoing forensic investigation, but we must not lose sight of the fact na in general, nakapag-proclaim naman tayo ng matiwasay and in general, we had a successful election. It is in that context that we will evaluate kung naging tama ba ang pagpo-procure ng VCMs,” he said.
The Comelec bought 95,000 VCMs in 2016. Of this number, 85,000 were used in the May 2019 polls while the other 10,000 were on standby in case of malfunctioning VCMs.