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Lanao del Sur, Sarangani residents report VCM errors

/ 04:19 PM May 07, 2016
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The Commission on Elections presents to the media the vote-counting machines to be used in the elections on May 9 at its warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, on Feb. 4. INQUIRER PHOTO

COTABATO CITY—Residents appeared hesitant to report to authorities alleged errors appearing in test-runs of vote-counting machines (VCM) in southern provinces, after the Commission on Elections warned of possible polls-related offenses when complaints were proven false.

Comelec Chair Andres Bautista on Thursday denied VCMs in test-runs switched votes from Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

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In this city, the VCM operation testing went smoothly with names of Philippine heroes, such as Emilio Aguinaldo and Antonio Luna, voted as “president.” At the Oblate of Mary Immaculate Building, reporters observed the VCM correctly read the trial ballots with shaded names of either Aguinaldo or Luna.

But in Tamparan, Lanao del Sur, the municipal board of elections inspectors (BEI) on Thursday videoed trial voting where a VCM failed thrice to read the ballots correctly. Initially, the VCM unit recorded administration presidential candidate Mar Roxas in a voting receipt, when none of the oblong spaces beside the candidates’ names was shaded.

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On a second trial, the oblong next to the name of Davao City Mayor Duterte was shaded, but still Roxas’ name appeared in the receipt. On the third try, the machine finally had the correct receipt recording of Sen. Grace Poe’s name for a shaded oblong to her credit. However, none came out of the senatorial candidates voted in the test ballots.

The video was posted here: https://www.facebook.com/hannah.ditucalan/posts/1352732084753519

One of many residents present, Rohani Liawao, said the Tamparan testing was conducted in public, hours before the Muslim congregational prayer in the community. BEI members, she said, wanted to inform the Commission on Elections of the errors.

The same error has been noted on one of the VCMs consigned to Kiamba, Sarangani, reported Alena Gale Yabes, a lawyer working for Duterte.

Earlier, Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim has also warned of legal consequences of false claims on social media, as possible violation of the polls fraud provisions of the Omnibus Election Code.

Apparently reacting to social media posts claiming elections fraud occurred in overseas voting, Lim said making false claims about election fraud is considered an election offense.

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TAGS: Elections 2016, elections featured, Lanao del Sur, Sarangani, VCM, vote counting machine
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