PDP-Laban ‘extremely disappointed’ with high number of VCM errors
PDP-Laban president Koko Pimentel expressed displeasure over the “high” number of malfunctioning vote-counting machines (VCM) that marred the 2016 national and local elections.
Reports of voting machine failures were rampant throughout the country as the polling precincts opened early Monday morning.
“As the chairman of the committee of the electoral reform and the chairman of the joint congressional overside committee on the automated election system, I am extremely disappointed with the high number of the reported VCMs not functioning because these are supposed to be brand new,” senator Pimentel told reporters during a last-minute press briefing Monday at Linden Suites in Pasig City.
“Brand new VCMs and I have the figures here with me, we rented them in two batches 39,000 more or less yung una, yung pangalawa, 48,000 per machine brand new and yet they malfunction,” Pimentel added.
In Barangays Mantahan and Guadalupe, Maasin City, Southern Leyte province alone, at least 1,000 voters weren’t able to cast their ballots, in a report by Inquirer Visayas.
“I am not happy with this development because I was given the assurances by Smartmatic executives who appeared before my committee that these machines will work,” he said. “So I don’t care about percentages that this is a small percentages of the number of machines not functioning because I’m looking at the people, the number of voters who have been either disenfranchised or greatly inconvenienced.”
Smartmatic, the vote-counting machine manufacturer, said that only 143 VCMs out of 92,509 deployed malfunction and needed replacement, in a story by INQUIRER.net Monday afternoon.
“Yung hintay kanina sa presinto ko wala namang nangyaring nag malfunction na machine pero late nag-start, 30 minutes that was already a great inconvenience because I have to catch a flight. Yung iba, in the middle of the noontime in the heat of the sun, two hours delayed, three hours delayed.”
Pimentel urged Comelec to have Smartmatic give light to the machine errors of their supposedly reliable VCMs.
“So ako po, after elections I will have to require Comelec, or call on Comelec to require Smartmatic to explain properly in detail why the high number of malfunctioning VCM’s the type of disorder experienced,” said Pimentel.
Pimentel suggested to Comelec that they withhold the payment to Smartmatic until the company provides an explanation to the failure of some VCMs.
“And in the meantime, we are requesting Comelec to withhold payment from Smartmatic until they have satisfactorily explained what happened and if necessary, the PDP-Laban is studying, even asking the DOJ for some sort of a hold departure order against the executives of Smartmatic, they should not leave the country until they’ve satisfactorily explained before the joint congressional overside committee on the automated elections system what happened.”
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