Reelectionist Sen. Grace Poe was scheduled to vote at precinct 0349A at Sta. Lucia Elementary School in San Juan City at 10 a.m. but left after waiting in line for a number of minutes when the machine was not accepting ballots.
Russell Palma
Even senators not spared from vote-counting glitches
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Some senators experienced glitches in the use of vote-counting machines (VCMs) when they cast their ballots yesterday. 

Reelectionist Sen. Grace Poe was scheduled to vote at precinct 0349A at Sta. Lucia Elementary School in San Juan City at 10 a.m. but left after waiting in line for a number of minutes when the machine was not accepting ballots.

After about an hour, when the VCM was replaced, Poe returned to cast her vote around noon after spending time with her mother, actress Susan Roces.

The reported failure of hundreds of VCMs and other complaints that cropped up in various polling places around the country also alarmed Sen. Nancy Binay, who urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately start investigating the glitches.

Her father, former vice president Jejomar Binay, is set to file a complaint before the Comelec after the VCM in his precinct in Makati City repeatedly rejected his ballot.

The younger Binay said the Comelec repeatedly gave assurances that the machines were in working condition.

“This (glitch) is not acceptable, considering they (VCMs) were tested several times by the DOST (Department of Science and Technology). We automated our elections to make the process more efficient and so our countrymen won’t be inconvenienced, but various reports are already pointing to the process becoming longer. Waiting in line for four hours is too much,” the senator said in a statement.

Reelectionist Aquilino Pimentel III, who voted in Cagayan de Oro City, echoed the same concern after his supporters reported that 16 VCMs in Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte were not functioning and that the SD cards were “broken.”

“Too many reports of malfunctioning VCMs nationwide. Hence the question to ask now is: why did the Comelec report that all VCMs passed the diagnostic tests?” Pimentel told reporters.

Dennis Legaspi, a media officer of reelectionist Sen. Sonny Angara, said his office also received complaints from voters that the candidates they voted for were not reflected in the voter’s receipt.

Sen. Joel Villanueva dubbed the midterm elections as the “biggest job fair” as he cast his vote yesterday morning at the Bunlo Elementary School in this town.

He said this year’s elections took longer than the previous ones, noting the longer queues at the clustered precincts.

“Other than the long queues, the voting process was relatively OK, but we hope the Comelec will make the next election more bearable for our voters,” Villanueva added.

In Davao City, former presidential special assistant and senatorial aspirant Christopher Go waited for two hours and 40 minutes in line before he was able to cast his vote at Buhangin Central Elementary School.

Go, who visited the Carmelite Monastery before proceeding to his assigned polling precinct, said he prayed for good health for President Duterte and enlightenment for himself so they can both better serve the Filipino people. – With Edith Regalado, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Ramon Efren Lazaro

VOTE-COUNTING MACHINES
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