No major hitches in final testing, sealing of VCMs

NO MAJOR hitches were encountered during the final testing and sealing of vote counting machines in Cebu and Mandaue City on Friday, May 9.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Board of Election Inspectors conducted the final testing and sealing of the VCMs starting 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. to make sure these will function properly on Election Day.

[READ: Final testing, sealing of VCMs today]

In Mandaue City, the testing was marred with brownout, an improper positioning of the storage card and a voter saying that a name of a councilor was printed on his receipt.

But these were considered "minor problems," as Mandaue Election Officer Ferdinand Gujilde said there is no need to replace the VCMs.

At Guadalupe Elementary School, the voters' receipts reflected actual votes cast by the voters.

A minor glitch occurred when a sample ballot was not accepted apparently because it was not an original. A paper jam resulted.

Comelec Central Visayas Director Rene Mendros said this only shows that the security of the VCMs is tight because it will not accept ballots that are not intended for the precinct.

But he admitted that he is not certain if each of the batches of sample ballots used in the final testing and sealing has one fake ballot.

In the north district, Election Officer lawyer Michael Sarno said some schools reported unreadable secure digital (SD) cards.

Mendros, however, said this is not an issue since the provincial hub for the SD cards in the entire region is in Cebu.

He said if a VCM will also bog down, there are 158 contingency VCMs for the entire province of Cebu.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) personnel were deployed for the final testing and sealing of the VCMs in all the polling centers Friday morning.

There are 70 polling centers within Cebu City.

Two police personnel were assigned in every polling center with the assistance of barangay tanods.

“Anha na sila mo pull out kung mahuman na ang election,” said Police Superintendent Oscar Monterroyo, chief of the Police Community Relations.

Only 10 percent of CCPO personnel were left in the headquarters, five percent are on standby as reaction team for responding alarm and another five percent are assigned in different offices of the CCPO headquarters.

Shifting of personnel is every after 12 hours of duty. (Princess Dawn Felicitas, Flornisa M. Gitgano of Sun.Star Cebu/Gwenna Maurillo Abadiez-USJR Intern/Sun.Star Cebu/Sunnex)

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