Teachers serving as Board of Election Inspectors and poll watchers review the election returns during canvassing of votes at the Araullo High School in Manila, May 13, 2019.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
Despite glitches and hitches, Palace says poll results credible
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - May 16, 2019 - 9:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the counting machine glitches and issues in the election transparency server, Malacañang believes the results of the midterm polls, which saw its allies dominating the senatorial race, are credible.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said only a small percentage of counting machines had technical problems. He noted that glitches would not stop the transmission of votes because poll officers could count the votes manually. 

With regard to the problems that hounded the transparency server, Panelo said the counting delay would not affect the voting results. 

"If you ask me, if there are three receivers from one source, and two of them worked, it doesn't matter if there are delays. If there is a delay but it's the same number of votes, what's the problem with that?" the presidential spokesman said. 

RELATED: 4th automated polls: 220% more VCMs malfunctioning than in 2016

The problems in the counting machines have been blamed on low quality SD (secure digital) cards. The delay in the transmission of real-time poll results to media outfits, meanwhile, was attributed to an application error.   

The National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has urged the Commission on Elections to defer the proclamation of winning senators until the allegations of irregularities are probed. 

Panelo said it would be up to the Comelec to decide on the appeal. 

"The president will never interfere in an electoral process," he said. 

READ: Comelec looks into viral video of alleged pre-shading of ballots

The Duterte administration, however, supports an investigation on the alleged cheating in Lanao del Sur that was caught on video. The video, which has gone viral in social networks, showed a woman supposedly pre-shading some ballots. 

"The Comelec should investigate that, that’s their turf, we cannot interfere with that," Panelo said. 


Panelo said the poll body should do more in educating voters, noting that more than one million people overvoted in the senatorial race. 

Voting for more than 12 canddiates for senator means those votes will be invalid, the Comelec warned in February.

"I think the Comelec should do something about that. Imagine, you cannot count 1.1 million (votes). It will make a big difference," the presidential spokesman said.

The administration's Hugpong ng Pagbabago slate initially had 13 members: Sen. Sonny Angara, Rep. Pia Cayetano (Taguig), former national police chief Ronald dela Rosa, Sen. JV Ejercito, former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, former presidential aide Bong Go, Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu (Maguindanao), former journalist Jiggy Manicad, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Sen. Koko Pimentel, former Sen. Bong Revilla, former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino and Sen. Cynthia Villar.

RELATED: Pampanga guv asks constituents to 'vote straight' for 13-strong Hugpong slate

According to reports, Pimentel was bumped off sample HNP ballots distributed on election day.

Religious group El Shaddai also endorsed 14 candidates for the 12-seat Senate race.

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