CENTRAL VISAYAS POLLS. Atty. Veronico Petalcorin (right), regional director of the Commission on Elections in Central Visayas (Comelec-7), answers questions on cases of malfunctioned Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) during a press briefing at the Regional Election Monitoring Action Center (REMAC-7) at Camp Sergio Osmeña Sr. in Cebu City on Monday (May 13, 2019). Also at the briefing (from left) are Police Regional Police Office (PRO-7) Regional Director, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas; Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) Visayas chief, Maj. Gen. Rolando Felix; and 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division Deputy Commander, Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya. (Photo by John Rey Saavedra)
CEBU CITY -- Voting was generally smooth in Central Visayas (Region 7) despite delays caused by malfunctioning vote counting machines (VCMs) and voter registration verification machines (VRVMs) in some polling precincts in the region.
Lawyer Veronico Petalcorin, Comelec-7 director, said his office recorded at least 117 VCMs that did not function when the board of election inspectors (BEI) opened the polling precincts at 6 a.m. Monday.
By 1 p.m., however, the number of malfunctioning VCMs decreased to 55, after contingency VCMs arrived at the polling precincts, where failure of machines was experienced.
Of the 55 VCMs reported to have malfunctioned, Cebu City had 18 machines; followed by Mandaue City (14); Negros Oriental (12); Lapu-Lapu City (5); and the rest in Bohol and Siquijor.
Petalcorin, however, said contingency VCMs were delivered soon after their office received the report on malfunctioning machines.
“Every VCM has no adjuster that when the smallest mistake of feeding the ballot, it can really cause misfeeding the machine,” he said in Cebuano during a press briefing at the Regional Election Monitoring Action Center (REMAC) at Camp Sergio Osmeña Sr. here.
He, however, assured the voters in the four provinces of Central Visayas that the Comelec has enough contingency VCMs to cover those that malfunctioned.
Petalcorin also reported that a ballot intended for Antique landed in a precinct in Lapu-Lapu City, which he said will not affect the voting in both local government units considering that the discrepancy made could not affect 80 percent of the total registered voters.
He also reported that 120 ballots intended for Toril village in Alburquerque, Bohol were mistakenly delivered to Cordova town in the sixth district of Cebu.
Seven of the 120 ballots were used in a precinct in Cordova, but Petalcorin said the votes were declared stale because the candidates listed were not for the town.
The Comelec regional office sent replacements for the 120 ballots for Alburquerque via fastcraft.
The highest election official in Central Visayas also assured that glitches in 75 VRVMs would not affect the voting.
A voter will be asked to produce proof of identification, which shall be used to check his name in the Election Day Computerized Voters List in case a VRVM in a precinct crashed, he said.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, director of Police Regional Office 7, said the opening of voting on Monday was generally peaceful in Cebu and the entire region.
Sinas belied reports that the motorcycle of a village watchman caught fire Monday morning, contrary to the report of village chief Nerissa Doncillo.
“It ignited on its own due to heat,” Sinas said.
Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, deputy commander of 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division in Jamindan, Capiz, who heads the deployment of military troops in Central Visayas, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a separate interview that the Central Command (Centcom) deployed 1,442 soldiers for the entire region.
According to him, the soldiers came from the three branches of service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
The number is part of more than 8,000 troops from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and AFP that enlisted for election duties on Monday.
“So far so good. Because of our coordination with the police, the military, and other agencies, as well as the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting), our voting in the region is smooth sailing,” Petalcorin said. (PNA)