VCM glitches mar voting in Pasig, Makati and San Juan
MANILA, Philippines — Voting in the cities of Pasig, Makati and San Juan were delayed after a number of vote counting machines (VCMs) malfunctioned just hours after the polling precincts opened Monday morning.
In Makati, former Vice President Jejomar Binay’s ballot was repeatedly rejected after being fed to the VCM eight times.
The incident prompted Binay, who is running as Makati 1st District representative, to rush to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to file his complaint. He left his precinct at the San Antonio National High School at around 7:35 a.m.
The former Vice President was met by Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez in a closed-door meeting. Minutes after, the two informed media that the VCM had indeed malfunctioned.
Jimenez said the rejected ballots, including that of Binay’s, will be refed in a replacement machine.
Also in Makati, the VCM at the precinct where Makati Mayor Abby Binay was supposed to cast her vote, suffered a malfunction at about 7:20 a.m. even before she arrived.
Binay was expected to cast her vote at 10 a.m.
Meanwhile, Pasig City mayoralty candidate and Councilor Vico Sotto chose to delay voting after the VCM at his precinct reportedly malfunctioned.
“I haven’t voted yet kasi sira ‘yong machine kung saan ako boboto. Hindi siya gumagana,” Sotto told reporters at the Valle Verde 5 covered court.
The VCM at reelectionist Senator Grace Poe’s precinct in San Juan City also reportedly malfunctioned.
Poe arrived at the Sta. Lucia Elementary School around 9:30 a.m. but she could not cast her vote as of posting because of the technical problem.
“Naghihintay kami dito sa baba kasi yung voting machine sa presinto ko hindi daw gumagana. Sabi nung isang opisyal dito, mga two minutes daw aayusin pero lagpas na ng two minutes,” Poe told reporters.
“Pero kung sasabihan nila ako na aabutin ng ilang oras, baka bumalik na lang ako para hindi naman masyado magsiksikan dito,” Poe said.
According to Jimenez, the VCMs may reject ballots if they contain unnecessary markings. In case the VCMs malfunctioned due to technical glitches, replacement machines will be deployed.
“Ang makina ay naghahanap ng mga marks sa balota. Kapag may nakita siyang marks na nakalapat or nakinterfere sa kanyang mga security marks, irereject niya yung balota na ‘yun. That’s the proper process,” he said.
The Comelec earlier said it will be using more than 85,000 VCMs for the May midterm elections. Another 7,000 were on standby as contingency measure. (Editor: Mike Frialde)
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