MANILA -- The number of vote counting machines (VCMs) that malfunctioned in Monday's polls is still 'within range', a Commission on Elections official said.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez noted that they will analyze all the different failures encountered as far as the machines are concerned.
“What we see right now is 400 to 600 machines and instances it could go higher. I don’t know yet but so far that’s all that has been reported to me. That is a small figure out of 85,000 VCMs. So it seems to me it’s still within the range,” he said in a press briefing at the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) headquarters at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.
At the same time, the poll body official is not discounting the possibility that the reason why some machines did not function is because these are no longer brand new as they were first used in the 2016 polls.
“We will know when we analyze the different failures that we are seeking. Again, within the range of what is expected in terms of the number of machines. I don't think we are far from the expected range,” Jimenez added.
The Comelec has some 9,000 units as contingency machines.
“These are already used. But we are the only ones who used it. These are now being used for the second time,” Jimenez said.
On the other hand, the Comelec spokesperson assured that they are trying to resolve election-related issues that are being presented to them.
“It’s been a checked day. It’s a mixed bag. There are many voters who reported a very fast and speedy process of their voting experience. There are also those who encountered problems," Jimenez said.
“So we are being very careful before we actually say that things are going terribly or well. Right now here is what we see and that there are problems and the problems that we see are being solved,” he added.
In 2017, the Comelec purchased the 97,517 VCM units for PHP2.1 billion that were used in the last national and local polls.
The machines were acquired after exercising the option-to-purchase (OTP) in the poll body's 2016 lease contract with Smartmatic International, the service provider in the country’s past elections -- 2010, 2013 and 2016. (PNA)
Photo by Fernando G. Sepe Jr./ABS-CBN News