Palace backs congressional probe into faulty VCMs

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday, May 14, supported the plan of re-electionist Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III to conduct a congressional probe into the reported glitches in the vote-counting machines (VCMs) that caused delays in the conduct of May 13 midterm elections.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he believed there was an irregularity in the use of VCMs.

"Anything that will be for the betterment of this country, we always support. Siguro marami nang nagrereklamo sa Smartmatic (Perhaps, many are complaining against Smartmatic). Eh 'di (So) let’s have it probed then by the Senate or by the House of Representatives," he added.

Smartmatic is a Venezuela-based technology provider that shipped the VCMs to the Philippines for use in the elections.

Senators have lambasted the Commission on Elections (Comelec) over the defective VCMs, which caused delays in the casting of votes in several polling precincts across the country.

The incident prompted Pimentel, chair of joint congressional oversight committee on the automated elections system (JCOC-AES) for the Senate, to call for an inquiry into the disrupted voting process because of faulty VCMs.

Pimentel said he would discuss the planned inquiry with CIBAC party-list Representative Sherwin Tugna, chair of JCOC-AES for the House.

Panelo said the Comelec should review the existing contract with Smartmatic.

"They should, because that should teach them a lesson, there must be something wrong," the Palace official said.

Despite the problems encountered during the midterm polls, Panelo still praised the Comelec for the swift release of poll results.

The Palace official was also confident that the malfunctioning of VCMs would not have an impact on the poll results.

"It will not affect the results of the elections. If the machine does not function, you have a remedy for that. All you have to do is make a manual counting of the ballots," Panelo said.

"But let me congratulate Comelec kasi ngayon lang nagkaroon ng within hours nakita na natin, samantalang prevous years ang tagal (But let me congratulate Comelec because we came to know the winners within hours, unlike in the previous years that it took so long)," he added. (SunStar Philippines)


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