Reports of malfunctioning vote-counting machines (VCMs) and election-related violence raise alarm about the current conduct of the national elections, presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo said on Monday, May 9.
These reports have been posted over social media, with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) admitting that some 1,800 VCMs have already malfunctioned.
In an unidentified precinct in Mindanao, a video posted on Twitter showed chaos as ballots were snatched and ripped, and people threw chairs at each other.
“Kasi medyo nakakabahala ‘yung mga reports (Because it’s a bit alarming the reports from) all over the country ngayon (now). Pinakaayaw natin mangyari na mayurakan ‘yung integridad at linis ng eleksyon na ito kasi doon magsisimula ‘yung gulo (now. The least we want to happen is to taint the integrity and cleanliness of this election because that’s when chaos can begin),” she said in a media interview after she voted in Magarao, Camarines Sur.
“Sana kung mayroong mga nagpaplano, wag ituloy. Sana ipakita ng mga authorities na on top sila ng lahat na nangyayari (I hope whoever is planning something will not go through with it. I hope the authorities will show they are on top of all that’s happening),” Robredo added.
The peaceful conduct of the May 2022 polls is where the people’s trust in the government will come from, so the Vice President said she is hopeful that no “untoward incident” will happen today.
She reiterated that her team has put up a hotline for voters. Lawyers are also on standby to help, she said.
The lone female presidential bet asked voters to document unusual situations in the polling precincts.
“Pero ‘yun lang, ‘yung advice lang natin, wag matakot. Marami tayong magtutulungan. (Our advice is don’t be afraid. Many of us are willing to help each other),” she said.
Even Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez had trouble casting his vote.
In a Twitter post, he said that he was in line to vote as early as 5:30 a.m., but the VCM was problematic.
Three hours later, they were told that a tech person was “on the way,” but there was no definite time given.
“People getting angry. @COMELEC madami daw ganitong insidente (there are a lot of incidents like this), hope you are already doing something to address,” he wrote.
Gutierrez shared that voters were offered two options—vote manually then leave their ballots to the election officers or wait until the VCM starts working—after nearly four hours.
“Some of us took this option, but a substantial number chose to wait,” Robredo’s spokesman said.