‘Purchase of new VCMs a decision of entire government

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
�Purchase of new VCMs a decision of entire government
This file photo shows a vote-counting machine used by the Commission on Elections.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The purchase of new vote-counting machines (VCMs) to be used in the May 2025 midterm elections was not the sole decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“It is not just the Comelec that decided to get a new voting system. It is not just the Comelec that decided to lease new machines. It is a decision of the entire government,” Comelec Chairman George Garcia told reporters in a recent interview.

“It has become a national government policy, and not just of the Comelec, to acquire new voting machines,” Garcia added.

The Comelec chief issued the statement in response to calls by some groups to just reuse in next year’s polls the old VCMs supplied by Smartmatic International.

The poll body has previously awarded to a joint venture led by South Korean firm Miru Systems Co. Ltd. a contract to purchase new VCMs.

Garcia said that the executive and legislative branches of government also approved the purchase and use of new VCMs.

He pointed out that the two government branches approved the budget allocation for the purchase of new VCMs probably because both are aware of the need to replace the old VCMs.

“They know that if the old machines experience glitches, it is not just the Comelec that will get the blame but the entire government,” Garcia said.

Since the national government approved the allocation, its implementation became more necessary, according to the Comelec chief.

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