Lawmakers want Comelec to conduct another round of mock elections

Published January 28, 2022, 7:21 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Lawmakers are calling for the repeat of the conduct of the mock elections by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after flagging various technical concerns.

Issues include misread ballots, paper jam due to non-alignment of ballot box and vote counting machines and rejected ballots due to smudges and tampered barcodes.

During the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System (JCOC-AES) hearing, lawmakers also raised concern about the Comelec’s next steps when the ballots get moist due to weather or wet due to alcohol, which are now commonly used as part of measures against COVID-19.

“I would like to move that considering the technical problems which we have seen—according to the Comelec, all these technical problems had already been solved—I respectfully move that we conduct another mock elections so that we can see that all these problems shown today have already been remedied,” said Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga.

“Because we cannot afford that these technical problems would be existing on the day of elections,” he added, which was concurred by JCOC Chairperson Sen. Imee Marcos.

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said they will first “look” into their timeline if another round of mock elections “is still feasible.”

“But then again…all of these technical issues were resolved,” Casquejo said.

Meanwhile, Casquejo also said it is looking for various options on how to deliver the voters’ information sheets, which include the voters’ precinct number, to the public.

“Ang first option ay talagang matanggap nila ang hard copy (ng kanilang voters’ information) (The first option is for them to receive the hard copies of their voters’ information),” he said. But lawmakers also raised concerns about the logistics as there are about 60 million voters across the country.

While Casquejo said they will be hiring individuals who will deliver the voters’ information sheets, Marcos asserted that the former Comelec chairman “even wanted to abolish these information sheets” because not all of them are received by their respective recipients.

“That is why with those lessons learned, pinaaga po namin ang aming (we started earlier the) bidding process… I think they will start distributing end of February… Sana po by April, nandyan na lahat (I hope by April the sheets will arrive),” Casquejo said, which was still questioned by the lawmakers.