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Gatchalian laments election glitches despite Comelec P10-B budget

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Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian. INQUIRER.NET PHOTO/CATHY MIRANDA

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday joined calls for a congressional probe on reported “avoidable” problems that occurred during the midterm polls despite the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) P10-billion budget.

 “Ang laki na ng budget ng Comelec pero ang dami pa ring naging issues. We can’t blame the public if they are wary of cheating because the multiple glitches did nothing to allay their fears,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

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Congress allotted P10.178 budget for Comelec in 2019.

“Kahit na wala namang dayaang nangyari, hindi maiiwasan ng taumbayan na mangamba dahil sa fluctuating numbers,” he added.

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He pointed out problems that plagued several areas during the elections last May 13. The glitches included malfunctioning vote counting machines, SD cards, and Voter Registration Verification Machines (VRVMs), and problems with the transparency server which caused a 7-hour delay in the posting of unofficial tallies.

READ: 961 VCMs, 1,665 SD cards suffer glitches in 2019 polls — Comelec

He also noted the reported sudden drop in transmitted results from the Comelec last Tuesday, which further complicated the server issues.

READ: PPCRV vote count suddenly drops after Tuesday update

“All these issues call into question the integrity of the elections. Worse, baka may mga voters pa na nadisenfranchise,” Gatchalian said.

Despite the issues, the senator commended the teachers who served as members of the board of election inspectors (BEIs), thanking them for their patience amid the glitches.

“Ang ating teachers ang mga bayani ng bawat eleksyon. Kaya nga sana ay hindi na mabawasan ng withholding tax ang honoraria nila,” he said.

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Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the joint congressional oversight committee on automated elections has already agreed to summon election officials, among others, in its inquiry on the matter scheduled on June 4. (Editor: Cenon B. Bibe Jr.)

READ: Congress to probe glitches

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer’s live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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