Imee Marcos-led Senate poll reforms panel: May 9 elections ‘uneventful’
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Imee Marcos on Tuesday wrapped up her panel’s inquiry into the May 9 elections, which ended with her brother Ferdinand Marcos Jr. winning the presidency by a landslide, by concluding that it was “uneventful, very successful, and largely according to law and the expectations of people” despite various hiccups.
The chair of the Senate electoral reforms committee gave her review of the conduct of the polls after a two-hour hearing in aid of legislation that was “not so much an investigation as a general assessment” of the elections and of the issues that, according to her, needed fixing.
“Truth to tell, we have a much better electoral process. Congrats to all and thank you very much,” said Marcos, who has faced criticisms of conflict of interest in chairing the committee because of her brother.
The panel discussed various issues and controversies surrounding the elections, such as defective vote-counting machines (VCMs) that delayed voting in some precincts, concerns about technology provider Smartmatic, the lack of waiver forms for those leaving their ballots, and rampant vote-buying.
George Garcia, a commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said the poll body’s operations center reported a total of 1,310 VCMs and 618 SD cards that needed to be replaced on Election Day, of which 15 VCMs and seven SD cards were overseas.
But he added that it was not too bad considering the 83.07 voter turnout, the “highest in Philippine history.” Comelec Commissioner Rey Bulay noted that over 1,400 VCMs and 2,252 SD cards malfunctioned three years ago.
Comelec chair Saidamen Pangarungan said the poll body would propose leasing new VCMs for the 2025 midterm elections.
The panel also heard explanations from agencies, including the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), about the speed by which election results were transmitted to the Comelec’s transparency server, which determined the winners practically on the same night.
DICT Undersecretary Maria Victoria Castro vouched for the simulations performed by Comelec and her agency prior to election day, noting that connectivity improved significantly, resulting in much quicker transmission.
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