Senator Sherwin Gatchalian. PNA.GOV.PH

A senator on Wednesday called on the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System to look into the series of glitches that occurred during the 2019 midterm elections.

In a senate press release, senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that they “want to preserve the integrity and credibility of our automated elections.”

“Hence, there is a need to look into the issues encountered by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during the recently-concluded elections so we can avoid repeating them in succeeding elections,” he said.

“Una, ang daming VCMs (vote counting machines) at SD (secure digital) cards na sira. Tapos nagkaroon ng issue sa transparency server sa transmission ng boto sa media partners because of buggy software,” Gatchalian said, “Marami ring kaso ng mga sirang VRVM (voters registration verification machine), especially sa Maguindanao at Cotabato City.”

Reports said that the total number of vote counting machine (VCM) malfunctions raised up to 220% compared to the issues recorded during the presidential elections in 2016.

A total of 961 VCMs, or 1.1% out of 85,769, malfunctioned in 2019, compared to 801 during the 2016 elections.

Gatchalian also expressed concern about the number of defective SD cards, which jumped from just 120 in 2016 to 1,665 this year.

Moreover, reports showed that a total of 776 or 72% of VRVMs in Maguindanao and Cotabato City failed to work, resulting in voters having to go through manual verification on election day, the senate press release said.

“All these issues call into question the integrity of the elections. Worse, baka may mga voters pa na nadisenfranchise,” the lawmaker said.

“Ang laki na ng budget ng Comelec pero ang dami pa ring naging issues. We can’t blame the public if they are wary of cheating because the multiple glitches did nothing to allay their fears,

“Kahit na wala namang dayaang nangyari, hindi maiiwasan ng taumbayan na mangamba dahil sa fluctuating numbers,” he added.

Gatchalian carried on to commending the teachers who served as members of the board of election inspectors, hailing them as heroes of the elections.

“Ang ating teachers ang mga bayani ng bawat eleksyon. Kaya nga sana ay hindi na mabawasan ng withholding tax ang honoraria nila,” he said. (PacificTimes)