By Chad de Guzman | CNN Philippines
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 30) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday advised the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to stop its partnership with poll technology provider Smartmatic over allegations of election cheating and fraud.
“I would like to advise COMELEC, now, hindi ko na lang hintayin [I wouldn’t wait], dispose of Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud,” he said.
Duterte said the technology provider should be changed amid allegations of election cheating that.the public and elected officials find unacceptable.
“Anything that promotes cheating. Why are you insisting sa Smartmatic? Because bidding?” Duterte said. “‘Yung boto ng Pilipino hindi nabibilang nang totoo [The Filipinos’ votes are not being counted truthfully.]”
Smartmatic and COMELEC have been in hot water for snags during the 2019 midterm polls including a seven-hour delay in the release of election results from the transparency server and glitches in secure digital cards used to store encrypted images of the ballots. This led to questions regarding the election results’ integrity.
“I am now asking you as a co-equal… please do not use it,” he said.
The polls were dominated by administration bets, with 9 out of 12 candidates who won the senatorial race endorsed by either Duterte or his daughter Sara Duterte, leader of the political coalition Hugpong ng Pagbabago.