By Ellson Quismorio
A member of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms claimed Tuesday that the midterm polls have been “compromised” by the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) “illogical” policy of tapping different suppliers for the components of their vote counting machines (VCMs).
Caloocan City 2nd district Rep. Edgar Erice was pointing to the apparent mismatch between VCMs and SD cards, which reportedly led to the malfunctioning of hundreds of VCMs on Monday, Election Day.
“Actually the problem is not with the VCM but with the SD cards. The corrupted SD cards were sourced from a different supplier instead of the VCM supplier,” said Erice, who is part of the opposition bloc in the House of Representatives.
“It should have been a bundle purchase from the same supplier so as to single out accountability [in case of glitches],” the Liberal Party (LP) stalwart said, adding, “this ill-advised move has compromised the polls.”
Between 400 and 600 VCMs that suffered glitches had to be replaced, Comelec said. The figure was higher than the replacements carried out for the previous automated polls in 2016.
“I think the Comelec policy on these is the culprit,” Erice said.
The Caloocan lawmaker was referring to the poll body’s decision to bid out to different companies the supply of SD cards and other election paraphernalia such as ballot paper and ink. This policy was begun in 2013.
Erice underscored the importance of having compatible SD cards since the VCMs simply won’t function without them.
“Why would you source the SD cards that you would put in a machine manufactured by a different entity? Can”t find the logic,” he said.
Erice is poised to return to his seat in the upcoming 18th Congress after gaining nearly 125,000 votes. This was nearly 10 times the votes garnered by his lone opponent, Noel Cabuhat of the National Unity Party (NUP). #MatalinongBoto2019