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Lawmakers set to probe VCM glitches

 

A VOTER waits for her receipt from the vote counting machine (VCM) at San Jose Elementary School in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, during the midterm elections, May 13, 2019. (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

A VOTER waits for her receipt from the vote counting machine (VCM) at San Jose Elementary School in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, during the midterm elections, May 13, 2019. (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Lawmakers are set to inves­tigate the glitches in the vote-counting machines (VCMs) and SD cards that marred the midterm polls on Monday.

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, chair of the joint congressional oversight committee on the auto­mated elections system (JCOC-AES) for the Senate, said Tuesday he plans to call for an inquiry on the disruptions of the voting process yesterday due defective VCMs.

“Glitches are enough to call for a congressional investigation. Why are we still having all these glitch­es? Cannot Comelec (Commission on Elections) anticipate them?” Pi­mentel said in a text message.

Pimentel said he will coordinate with JCOC-AES House panel chair, CIBAC partylist Representative Sherwin Tugna, for the holding of the congressional oversight hear­ing when sessions resume on May 20.

Senators have slammed the Comelec over the malfunction of the VCMs which caused delay in the casting of votes in various poll­ing centers nationwide, and trig­gered concerns that voters may be disenfranchised.

“Too many reports of malfunc­tioning VCMs nationwide. Hence the question to ask now is: Why did comelec report that all VCMs passed the diagnostic tests?” Pi­mentel said on Monday.

Sen. Nancy Binay also said the glitches were “totally unacceptable” since the Comelec had assured that the polls will be in order.

Sens. Joel Villanueva and Sher­win Gatchalian also recalled allot­ting the Comelec more than R10 billion in the 2019 national budget.

“This glitch is so weird…We have the right to know what’s really go­ing on? #unbelievable,” Villanueva wrote on Twitter.

Yesterday, Senate President Vi­cente Sotto III said the faulty ma­chines should prompt the Comelec to drop Smartmatic as its techonol­ogy provider for the elections.

“It’s about time we stop using Smartmatic,” Sotto said in a text message.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez had said that at least 400 VCMs encountered glitches during the election day, way more than the 188 faulty machines recorded in the 2016 national elections.

The poll body has yet to deter­mine the cause of the malfunction.

But President Duterte, after cast­ing his vote in Davao City yester­day, said it would be premature to conduct any investigation as he appealed to the public to allow the Comelec to explain first on the glitches.

“Let Comelec explain first to the people before we even initi­ate a sort of investigation…That is in cognizance of our separation of powers,” he said. (Vanne Ter­razola)

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