Pimentel Calls For Senate Probe Into Faulty VCMs

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Tuesday called for a congressional inquiry into reported vote counting machine (VCM) glitches that caused delays during Monday’s mid-term polls.

Pimentel, chair of the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, questioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for lacking foresight on the massive malfunctioning of VCMs in several precincts nationwide.

“Glitches are enough to call for a congressional investigation. Why are we still having theses glitches? Can’t Comelec anticipate them?” Pimentel told reporters in a text message.

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said it is about time for the country to stop availing the services of Smartmatic for the elections.

Smartmatic International has been providing the VCMs used in the past three automated elections — 2010, 2013 and 2016.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the number of VCMs that malfunctioned in Monday’s polls is still “within range”.

Jimenez noted that they will analyze all the different failures encountered as far as the machines are concerned.

“What we see right now is 400 to 600 machines and instances it could go higher. I don’t know yet but so far that’s all that has been reported to me. That is a small figure out of 85,000 VCMs. So it seems to me it’s still within the range,” he said in a press briefing at the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) headquarters at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

At the same time, the poll body official is not discounting the possibility that the reason why some machines did not function is because these are no longer brand new as they were first used in the 2016 polls. (PNA)