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Comelec to investigate malfunctioning VCMs

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will begin an investigation into the over 900 vote-counting machines (VCMs) that malfunctioned during the May 9 election this weekend.

The Comelec Steering Committee, led by Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, will meet with the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) and the Project Management Office (PMO) on Saturday to examine the situation, according to Commissioner George Garcia.

He claimed the conference was called in response to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s request to look into why the VCMs did not work during the polls.

“In light of the President’s call to investigate the defective VCMs used during the election last Monday,” Garcia said in a Viber message to members of the media on Friday. “Commissioner Casquejo, the head of the steering committee, will convene tomorrow (May 14), the CAC, and the PMO to get to the bottom of this issue,” Garcia said.

Earlier, Duterte requested the Comelec to investigate hundreds of VCMs that failed during the election to avoid casting doubt on the results’ integrity.

Meanwhile, acting Comelec spokesman lawyer John Rex Laudiangco declined to comment further on the chief executive’s request to dismantle the Party-list system.

According to a poll authority official, Congress made the decision to abolish the party-list system, not the Commission.

“Allow the Comelec to work on the legislation we now have.” We are unable to comment on this. Why? Because these issues are within Congress’s wisdom and jurisdiction. He added in a press conference on Friday that the Comelec’s or Constitutional mandate’s mission is to “administer all election rules.”

“We will comply with that statute as long as it provides for the party-list system,” the Comelec official stressed.

Duterte pushed his potential successor to abolish the party-list system on Thursday.

He claims it has been exploited by the wealthy and powerful to lobby Congress on their behalf. It is also being utilized by communist groups to infiltrate Congress, according to the President.

On the other side, poll watchdog Kontra Daya believes the law should be amended rather than repealed.

“Kontra Daya’s position is to alter the Party-list System Act of 1995 to align it with the 1987 Constitution’s clause. The group claims that altering the law will assist to “change the party-list system for the benefit of the marginalized and underrepresented.”

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