By PTV News
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) will reuse old vote counting machines after its requested ₱2 billion additional fund for the purchase of more machines for the 2022 Presidential Elections was denied.
It was disclosed that at least 92 percent of the 97,350 VCMs bought last 2018 are still functional. The plan to buy new VMCs is in line with the target to increase cluster precincts and prevent congestion and to implement social distancing.
Some of the lawmakers expressed concern over the participation of Smartmatic since some ballots were rejected during the 2019 midterm elections, some transmissions were delayed.
“Is there a way we can ban Smartmatic because of the allegations? Iwasan niyo na iyon, huwag na kayong magpa-bid ng Smartmatic… Grabe ang alegasyon diyan, worldwide (Avoid and do not conduct bidding for Smartmatic… The allegations are serious worldwide),” Senate President Vicente Sotto III advised.
The COMELEC explained that there is currently no ban on Smartmatic to participate in Philippine elections. Sotto has also pushed to look into the relationship of COMELEC and Smartmatic.
“Because the criteria apparently in the last so many elections, Smartmatic lang ang nakakapasa. The committee should look into the criteria para makapasok ang iba (Because the criteria apparently in the last so many elections is that only Smartmatic was qualified. The committee should look into the criteria to allow others to come in),” he pointed out.
“Marami pong hadlang talaga para ma-disqualify ang Smartmatic. ‘Yung sinasabing maraming nagka-qualify, duda po ako roon (There are impediments to ban Smartmatic. I doubt claims that many are qualified),” Senator Imee Marcos added.
The Philippines currently has 59 million registered voters and there are 65,304,819 projected voters for 2022, including 4 million first time voters. Around 6.4 million are eligible to vote but are not yet registered. – Report from Eunice Samonte