Senate President Vicente Sotto III said it was about time for the country to stop availing the services of Smartmatic International for the elections.
Smartmatic is the provider of vote counting machines (VCMs) used in the past three automated elections — 2010, 2013 and 2016 – all of which were marked by blunders and controversy due to lack of transparency.
Sotto is apparently fed up that for the fourth straight election year, the Commission on Elections would blame non-working VCMs, low-quality Security Data (SD) cards, ballot papers, marking pens for the delay and controversy in the 2019 elections.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said she was disappointed by the reports that hundreds of VCMs broke down this year or more than 3 times more than those replaced in 2016. T
“This resulted in the disenfranchisement of a still undetermined number of voters and the severe inconvenience of many citizens in different parts of the country. This is our fourth automated elections. Mishaps like this, especially those that deprive our people of the right to suffrage, are unacceptable,” said Hontiveros.
Among the politikos whose voting experience was spoiled by the faulty Smartmatic VCMs were Senator Grace Poe and former Vice President Jojo Binay.
Comelec has blamed the age of the VCM for its failures in this year’s elections. Comelec paid P8.1 billion to buy the the 97,517 VCMs from Smartmatic in 2018 after leasing out the same machines in the 2016 elections. (With a report from PNA)