People vote at a polling precinct in Manila on May 13, 2019.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Watchdogs file complaint vs Comelec officials over alleged election anomalies
( - May 21, 2019 - 8:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — Poll watchdogs filed an administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against Commission on Elections officials and executives of tech provider Smartmatic over alleged anomalies in this year’s midterm elections.

In a complaint filed Tuesday, Mata sa Balota and Citizens’ Crime Watch want Comelec Executive Director Jose Marundan Tolentino charged with serious dishonesty and his deputy Teopisto Elnas Jr. and Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez charged with gross neglect of duty.

Former Comelec chair Andres Bautista and unnamed officials of Smartmatic were also included in the complaint. 

RELATED: 'Fewer' problems encountered in 2019 polls, Comelec says

“The latest electoral disaster, which mainstream media downplay as ‘glitch,’ is perhaps the worst in Philippine election history in terms of machine malfunctions that appear intentional-pretending-to-be-accidental,” the complainants said.

Technical hiccups such as defective vote counting machines, corrupted SD cards and hours-long delay of update from the poll body’s transparency survey as well as alleged cheating incidents raised question on the credibility and integrity of last week’s elections.

But Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo earlier said that the election was “successful” despite the glitches.

In a briefing on Monday, Jimenez acknowledged that there is room for improvement and that the Comelec will do better next time.

"We are dealing with same devices, same machines we are dealing with essentially the same system and we are experiencing fewer problems now than we did before and I think the stats will bear that out,” he also said.

A joint congressional probe into the glitches in the conduct of the elections is scheduled on June 4. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from The STAR/Elizabeth Marcelo

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