Comelec should reuse Smartmatic VCMs for 2025 polls – lawmaker

Comelec should reuse Smartmatic VCMs for 2025 polls, says lawmaker

/ 02:52 PM June 25, 2024

Comelec logo and VCM

MANILA, Philippines —Another lawmaker has urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reuse the vote-counting machines (VCMs) from Smartmatic in the 2025 polls to save funds.

Rizal 2nd District Rep. Emigdio Tanjuatco III on Monday said the P8-billion fund for the new VCMs can be used for other programs that can address high prices of basic goods.


“Reusing these VCMs is a very viable option given the government’s present challenges in providing critical funds to support social amelioration, food security, and universal health care,” he added.


He also said there are concerns about the hybrid voting system of South Korean firm Miru Systems Co. Ltd.

According to Tanjuatco, a member of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral reforms, Miru’s prototype machine read crumpled, marked, and tear-marked ballots.

“I was present during the first demo of Miru’s machines in the Comelec, where I witnessed the deficiencies firsthand,” he said.

“Instead of spending so much money on an untested automated election system (AES), which greatly risks failing the Filipino electorate, why not reuse the VCMs in the Comelec’s possession? These machines are still covered by warranty until next year,” he added.

He also said “the P18-billion contract between the Comelec and Miru Systems does not comply with the terms of reference of the automated election system.”

Comelec has decided not to reuse Smartmatic’s VCMs, noting several glitches in past elections, including the 2,000 VCMs that bogged down during the 2022 presidential polls.


However, lawmakers like Tanjuatco and Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez urged the poll body to consider Smartmatic’s advice on reusing the VCMs as billions of pesos can be saved.

Rodriguez on May 23 said the Comelec tapped Miru Systems despite concerns about its ability to deliver glitch-free elections.

He also said the poll body still owns the AES software for the election management systems (EMS) and consolidated canvassing system (CCS) — the overall system to be used in the 2025 elections, which cost P402.73 million in 2021.

READ: Rep. Rodriguez backs Smartmatic’s advice on reuse of VCMs for 2025 polls 

On March 11, Comelec awarded the contract for the AES for the 2025 midterm polls to Miru, the sole bidder for the poll body’s Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (Fastrac).

It includes supplying 110,000 automated counting machines, EMS, CCS, ballot boxes, and other peripherals.

Last April 18, Aksyon Demokratiko member and former Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop Comelec from implementing its P17.99-billion contract with Miru.

He said the contract violates the Automated Election Law because Miru will try a hybrid system that was supposedly never done in another country.

READ: SC asked to stop Comelec – Miru deal for 2025 polls

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“The VCMs had been verified to be in working condition, as after retrieval, each VCM was inspected individually and restored to perfect condition, as validated by the Comelec itself,” Tanjuatco said.

“We enjoin the Comelec to heed the call of a growing number of legislators urging the poll body to instead reuse its own VCMs in the 2025 polls. The billions of pesos in savings can bridge the budgetary gaps in essential services that the government is mandated to provide,” he added.


© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.