By JONAS ALPASAN
with reports from Aira Siguenza, Dominic Gutoman, Gabryelle Dumalag, Carlo Manalansan, and Dolly Recto
MANILA — Malfunctioning vote-counting machines, long queues, and delayed polls are among the common issues faced here in Metro Manila as Filipinos cast their votes.
In Tandang Sora Elementary School, several VCMs were not functioning. Voters were told to leave their ballots and that election officers will feed them into the machine as soon as these are fixed. This morning, the Commission on Elections said voters will have “no choice” on this, contrary to the guidelines it earlier set that allow voters to wait until the machines are fixed.
There were senior citizens and persons with disabilities in Tandang Sora who preferred the regular queue to secure their votes, rather than to leave it to election officers to feed their ballots into the machine.
“It is the duty of the Comelec to ensure that defective VCMs are repaired or replaced at the soonest possible time as voters wait to feed their ballots. We cannot blame voters for refusing to leave their ballots to the BEI because of the general distrust with the automated polls,” Kontra Daya said.
ATM. Voters patiently waiting for their turn to cast their votes in Teachers Village East Barangay Hall, Quezon City. Until now, only 1 out of 3 VCMs is working due to malfunctioning SD cards. #Elections2022 #Halalan2022
? Carlo Manalansan @loykwachero pic.twitter.com/kPWKR0DMoJ
— Bulatlat (@bulatlat) May 9, 2022
The Commission on Elections said there are almost 2,000 VCMs that malfunctioned. This is a far cry to the 2019 and 2016 elections, where the VCMs that malfunctioned were at 961 and 801, respectively.
In North Fairview Elementary School, not one of the six VCMs has been functioning since 6:00 a.m. Those who refused to hand to election officers their ballots are still waiting for the machines to be fixed.
There are also confusing guidelines, particularly in Teachers Village East in Quezon City, where only one of the three VCMs is working. Voters were told that the gate will close by 7:00 p.m. and only those in the village hall may have the chance to vote.
Voting hours are from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. However, with the delayed start of polls in some precincts, election watchdog Kontra Daya has appealed for longer voting hours to avoid disenfranchisement. (RVO)