THE National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) provincial headquarter together with Clean-CDO, Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo), and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) noted a 2.2 percent or eight breakdown rate of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
Nestor Banuag, Namfrel CDO-MisOr chair, said eight PCOS machines used in various polling places in the city were not functioning and worried it may cause the delay in the counting of ballots and the transmission of election results to the Board of Canvassers after the scheduled 7 p.m. closing.
Banuag, however, said the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) continued the voting process and will only start the counting after other available PCOS machines, in nearby precincts, will be done with their counting and transmission of results.
“So far ang general observation padayon gihapon ang casting of votes ug hulaton na lang dayon kung mahuman ang ubang PCOS machines. Ayha na dayon pod sugdan ang pag-ihap sa mga presinto nga wala nag-function ang ilang PCOS (So far the general observation was that the casting of votes continued. They will wait for other machines to finish counting and then use the available machines in lieu of the malfunctioned ones.),” Banuag, in a press forum said.
There were 49 reported incidents, 42 of which are technical error-related and 18 of these error-filled machines were resolved by the technicians.
Also, there were eight PCOS machines that were replaced. One back up machine still did not function. One reason of the malfunction was voters had traced the barcode, causing the machine to fail upon the next entry of ballots.
Meanwhile, election watchdog KontraDaya-Northern Mindanao Region, criticized the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the malfunctioning PCOS machines.
Kontra Daya reported that 35 PCOS machines bogged down as the election progressed.
Rev. Jun Mark Yañez of Kontra Daya, in a statement, said Comelec failed and there was no decisive move taken.
Kontra Daya is an independent nonpartisan monitoring group composed mainly of religious and civil society organizations.
The group also criticized Comelec for the massive disenfranchisement of voters in different areas in the city and in the region.
“As of 2:05 p.m. Monday, Kontra Daya has monitored at least 26 malfunctioned PCOS machines in Misamis Oriental, Lanao de Norte and Bukidnon areas. Based on this conservative count, 20,000 voters has become victim of Comelec’s gross negligence,” the statement read.
In Bukidnon, eight PCOS machines have malfunctioned including those in Valencia City, Dangcagan, Maramag and Talakag, the group noted.
“PCOS Machine with serial no. 10264581 in Valencia City has broken down since 10:40 am. It was repaired by lunch time but malfunctioned again moments later,” the statement read.
It was also reported that five PCOS machines were not functioning in Misamis Oriental towns of Salay, Tagoloan, Binuangan and one in Gingoog City.
In Cagayan de Oro, polling places in barangays Bulua, Consolacion, Kauswagan, Calaanan, Puerto and Iponan and West City Central School in barangay Carmen have also experienced technical problems.
The Comelec was unavailable for comments.
Meanwhile, Fr. Nathan Lerio, of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), said the data result that they will be consolidating will be reserved and will not be made into public pending protest of election results.
Lerio said they will not be doing a parallel count of the results as Namfrel will be doing unofficial counting.
“Our consolidated data will only be used to support Namfrel’s quick count,” Lerio said.
Senior Insp. Lemuel Gonda, Cocpo chief of operations and plans, reported that the elections were fairly peaceful with few election-related incidents (ERI) such as crowd control problems, rejected ballots and reports of barangay officials roaming the voting precincts in the hinterland barangays.
There were eight reported liquor ban violators.
Cocpo has spread its forces all over the city, especially in the voting precincts, city hall and even in the sanitation landfill.
Fr. Nathaniel Lerio, PPCRV provincial coordinator, said that vote buying is still rampant but no courageous individual has come up to testify against it.
Marlon Libot of CLEAN-CDO said that there were six teams deployed to facilitate the random manual audit, in partnership with the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Picpa).
Regarding the incidents of the giving of priority numbers, Libot said that these were easily resolved by Namfrel volunteers.
Libot said the disenfranchisement of voters who could not find their names on the certified voters list.
Banuag hopes to release the verified election results for Cagayan De Oro today. (With reports from Princess Jia Artajo, Angela Bernice Cabildo, and Cesar Stefan Rago, XU DevCom Interns)