Comelec: No vote-counting machines at Cubao hotel

COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista took time off his busy schedule on Monday to check the reported sighting of vote-counting machines at an upscale hotel in Cubao, Quezon City.

Bautista personally inspected the rooms at the Novotel in Araneta Center where seven technicians of technology provider, Smartmatic, were staying.

He even requested the Smartmatic technicians, who were working at the National Technical Support Center, to return to the hotel.

The unverified information, supposedly from a staff of the hotel, was revealed by Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) Chair Henrietta De Villa on Monday, an Election Day.

After inspection, Bautista said there was no VCM found in the hotel.

"Huwag nating paniniwalaan ang lahat ng ating naririnig sa social media at sa mga text na nakukuha," Bautista said after the inspection.

Netizens quickly tagged the Liberal Party as behind the move, as the family of its standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II owns Araneta Center.

In a statement, LP spokesperson Akbayan party-list Representative Barry Gutierrez denied the rumor that there were VCMs in Novotel.

"First of all, the Comelec has fully accounted for all VCMs, each of which has a unique ID that allows the Comelec to know where it is. This means it is impossible for anyone to misplace these machines," said Gutierrez.

"Secondly, the basis of the statement of Henrietta de Villa of the PPCRV is mere rumor, completely bereft of basis and substance. We also question the timing of this statement, releasing it exactly on Election Day and not earlier," he added.

He said the LP party supports a full inquiry into the matter.

"Spreading baseless and unsubstantiated rumors is not only irresponsible, but also illegal as it undermines the credibility of the electoral process," he said. (Sunnex)
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