By DOMINIC GUTOMAN
MANILA — Dehumanizing queues, malfunctioning VCMs, and violence — election-related anomalies pushed the voters and watchdogs to call for the extension of voting hours to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) today, May 9.
In the latest report of VoteReportPH, an alliance of ICT professionals and organizations that aims to engage in the electoral process, they have documented over 3,000 reports of possible election-related anomalies, prompting them to call on the Comelec to extend the voting hours.
The same point was also raised by election watchdog Kontra Daya, saying that there is a need to cater to the voters who have “endured long lines not just due to health protocols but also due to the malfunctioning VCMs.”
The recent data from Comelec in the first half of today’s poll have documented around 2,000 cases of malfunctioning VCMs. These breakdowns have already deprived nearly a million Filipino voters as each VCM caters to hundreds of Filipino voters, said Rey Valmores from Bakla Bantay Boto in a tweet.
“We are demanding Comelec to provide an explanation as to why thousands of VCMs passed final testing and sealing—and suddenly all broke down today,” she added, underscoring that the voters are not at fault for the machine errors.
As of 6:30pm, half an hour before the closing of polls, Kontra Daya still receives reports nationwide stating that the people are still lined up inside and outside of the schools, waiting for their turn to vote. Some of the submitted reports are from Nagpayong Elementary School, Trinity High School, Fortune Elementary School, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Makati, among others.
They also reported that there are no replacement VCMs in some schools that reported malfunctioning VCMs, such as the case of Esteban Abada Elementary School.
Bulatlat has also documented and reported several cases of election-related anomalies an hour before the polls close. In Teachers Village East, voters are calling on the Comelec to fix their VCMs, while the voters in Krus na Liga clustered precinct in QC are stuck in the queue with no functioning VCM since morning.
In protest of these cases, thousands of Filipino voters participate in the social media rally to call for the extension of voting hours.
Renato Reyes Jr, secretary-general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), says that the Filipinos must hold Comelec, Smartmatic, and F2 Logistics accountable for the mismanagement of elections, asserting the right to vote and the right to demand transparency.