961 VCMs, 1,665 SD cards suffer glitches in 2019 polls — Comelec
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Tuesday that 961 vote-counting machines (VCMs) and 1,665 SD cards suffered glitches during the midterm polls on Monday.
“Ang sira out of 85,000 [VCMs] is 961 and that is 1.1 percent. As to the SD cards, ang nasira is 1,665 or 1.9 percent of the total SD cards,” Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said in a press briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center, where the Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, was tallying votes.
This was a development to the earlier announcement of Comelec that 400 to 600 VCMs “experienced issues” during the conduct of the polls.
Out of the total number of defective SD cards, the Comelec has already replaced 1,253 as of 10 a.m., Abas said.
According to the Comelec chairman, the figures are higher than those reported from the 2016 polls, where 801 VCMs and 120 SD cards malfunctioned.
He said the Commission will probe what caused the glitches and will hold liable those who caused the problems.
“We are going to investigate after this elections kung ano ba talaga ang naging cause ng defective SD cards and then papanagutin natin kung sino ang may cause talaga (We’ll investigate the cause of the defective SD cards and hold people involved accountable),” the chairman of the poll body said.
According to Abas, the problem came from the possible incompatibility of election materials, which was sourced from different suppliers, procured for this year’s elections.
He said the Comelec signed contracts with different suppliers of marking pens, SD cards, and VCMs, a deviation from the previous practice where the Comelec sourced all “bundled” materials from technology provider Smartmatic.
“Pero wala kaming magagawa (But we cannot do anything). It’s part of the procurement law,” he said, explaining that the Comelec awarded the contracts to the lowest bidder of election materials, as mandated by the procurement law.
But according to Abas, all suppliers of this year’s poll materials passed the bidding process conducted by the Comelec.
He said the poll body maintains the election was “successful,” as he asserted that the glitches were only a small percentage of the materials used in the elections.
(Editor: Julie Espinosa)
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