Probe on glitches to push through

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Probe  on glitches to push through
Sotto emphasized “elections were credible” despite glitches resulting from defective SD cards and vote counting machines (VCMs) conking out.

MANILA, Philippines — While the automated midterm elections last Monday were generally credible, a congressional inquiry into the reported glitches and other problems that marred voting at some precincts must still push through, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said yesterday.

Sotto emphasized “elections were credible” despite glitches resulting from defective SD cards and vote counting machines (VCMs) conking out.

“The easiest thing to do is, if there are those skeptical or have suspicions, they present the reasons why they’re suspicious and present the evidence,” Sotto told the Kapihan sa Senado forum.

He said the reported glitches and problems were amplified in social media and later picked up by mainstream media even when polling precincts were not yet closed.

Generally, however, the automated system had functioned effectively despite the problematic VCMs and SD cards, he said.

Nonetheless, he said the June 4 inquiry of the joint congressional oversight committee on the automated election system, chaired by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III and CIBAC party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, should push through.

“We have to learn lessons – the mistakes that must be corrected, the adjustments we have to make – because in 2022, we’ll have the presidential elections, that’s very crucial,” Sotto said.

He said the Senate is not yet through with its inquiry into the alleged manipulation in the 2016 elections. Smartmatic – the main service provider at the time – has little involvement in Monday’s elections.

He said he remains satisfied with the performance of the Comelec – particularly its chairman Sheriff Abbas and Commissioner Rowena Guanzon – “contrary to what others are saying.”

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian also said he is supporting the inquiry to help preserve the integrity and credibility of the automated elections.

Gatchalian also commended the teachers who served as members of the board of election inspectors, thanking them for their patience despite the glitches and the sweltering heat.

To be summoned to the June 4 investigation aside from Comelec officials are representatives of the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Science and Technology.

Around 400 to 600 of the 85,000 VCMs across the country encountered glitches during the May 13 polls.  – with  Cecille Suerte Felipe



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