Comelec Exec says supplier of ‘faulty’ SD cards shouldn’t be paid in full

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2019   •   1628

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Wednesday that the supplier of the secure digital (SD) cards used in the 2019 midterm elections should not be paid in full.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said this during a chance interview at the National Board of Canvassers for the Senate and party-list race.

“Pero ang gusto kong i-announce, ito ha, this is my personal view, itong supplier ng SD cards ay hindi naman babayaran ng buo,” she said.

“Ipapasuri ko ‘yan, ‘yung proseso ng bidding at ‘yung pagdeliver nila ng cards kasi iyan po talaga ang nagging culprit,” she added.

Guanzon made the remark after the poll body revealed that 1,665 of the SD cards provided by the S1 Technologies and Silicon Valley Computer Group had encountered multiple problems during election day.

The Comelec reported on Tuesday that 1.9 percent of the 85,769 SD cards used in the 2019 midterm national and local elections were defective. The supposed faulty SD cards have been blamed for the errors in 961 vote-counting machines (VCM) during polls.

These figures are higher than the 120 SD cards and 801 VCMs replaced in the 2016 polls.

The S1 company bagged the contract to supply the SD cards for P22.6 million, but according to Guanzon, it would be a waste if they will pay for the damaged cards.

“Under COA (Commission on Audit) rules, even if they deliver and hindi namin nagamit iyan because it would have resulted to chaos. Hindi namin sila kailangang bayaran,” she said.

Guanzon said she will bring up the proposal to withhold the payment before the Comelec en banc, clarifying that the matter has yet to be decided amid ongoing investigation on the suppliers of SD cards, marking pens and VCMs.

She also said that the poll body is open to place its transparency server data logs under a third-party audit to clear the issues over the delay in transmitting of real-time election results, which Comelec earlier attributed to an application error in the transparency server.

Guanzon added that it would be better if the audit will be conducted by an independent party to disprove allegations on poll fraud.

“Yes, third-party audit, pati PPCRV of course, NAMFREL. They are going to have access; we will give them access. I am sure the other commissioners also agree to this suggestion of Commissioner Guia,” she said.

Guanzon also said that they cannot blame others for doubting the integrity of the poll results following the technical glitches that marred the elections.

“They have a right to say that kasi nga 7 to 8 hours iyong delay. Ang sinasabi lang namin you can verify it. Willing naman kami na may third party na audit diyan, ng logs,” she said.

“I can assure that personally na wala pong daya diyan o magic,” she added. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Comelec suspends voter registration until March 31 due to COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   March 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has suspended the voter registration until March 31 amid the rising number of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the country.

In a statement, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez announced that the suspension will begin on Tuesday, March 10.

“As a response to the growing threat to public health posed by COVID-19, voter registration has been suspended by the Comelec until the 31st of March 2020,” he said.

Jimenez said the suspension takes effect nationwide, encompassing voter registration conducted in all Comelec offices in districts, cities, and municipalities, as well as all satellite registration activities.

“The public is advised to take all necessary precautionary measures to limit their exposure to the possibility of COVID-19 infection,” he added.

The poll body opened the voter registration for the 2022 national elections last January. It was initially set to run until September 30, 2021.

As of posting time, the Philippines has 33 confirmed coronavirus cases.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier declared a public health emergency amid the rising cases of COVID-19 infections in the country.

The DOH also raised Code Red Sublevel 1 after confirming the country’s first case of coronavirus local transmission.

Voter registration in Taal eruption-affected areas to resume on Feb. 3 – Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The voter registration in Batangas and Cavite areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano will resume on Monday, February 3, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Thursday.

In a statement, Comelec said the voter registration for the 2022 elections will resume in the following places in Batangas province due to a return to normal working conditions:

  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • San Nicolas
  • Sta. Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay
  • Cuenca
  • Lipa City
  • Tanauan City
  • Balayan
  • Calaca
  • Kalatagan
  • Tuy
  • San Luis
  • Mabini
  • Lian
  • Malvar

In Cavite, the poll body said that registration of voters will also resume in Alfonso, Indang, Silang, Tagaytay City, and Amadeo.

Meanwhile, the voter registration in the municipality of Mataas na Kahoy in Batangas will resume on February 10, according to Comelec.

The poll body earlier announced the suspension of the registration in areas within and beyond the 14-kilometer danger zone of Taal Volcano during its eruption.

Voter registration resumes Jan. 20, except in Taal-hit areas — Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday announced that the voter registration for the 2022 presidential elections will resume nationwide on Monday, January 20, except in some areas in Batangas and Cavite that were affected by the ongoing eruption of Taal Volcano.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said voter registration in municipalities and towns of Batangas located within the immediate danger zone and other areas surrounding the Taal Volcano will be suspended.

These places include:

  • Agoncillo
  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • Mataas na Kahoy
  • San Nicolas
  • San Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay

Voter registration will also be suspended in the following localities outside Taal zone but still affected by ashfall, earthquakes, impassable roads and power interruptions:

  • Balayan, Batangas
  • Cuenca, Batangas
  • Lian, Batangas
  • Mabini, Batangas
  • Mabini, Batangas
  • San Luis, Batangas
  • Tuy, Batangas
  • Tagaytay, Cavite
  • Alfonso, Cavite
  • Amadeo, Cavite
  • Indang, Cavite
  • Silang, Cavite

Jimenez said the resumption of the voter registration in areas affected by Taal Volcano unrest will be “contingent on the ability of those places to recover and return to normalcy.”

Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4, which signifies an imminent hazardous explosion, despite decreasing emissions. The volcano belched ash and smoke last Sunday, January 12, which sent thousands of residents scrambling to safety.

Aside from these areas, Comelec said the resumption of voter registration will also be deferred in Makilala, North Cotabato which was hit by a strong earthquake last December 2019.

Registration is also postponed in 24 municipalities in Palawan province to give way to the May 11, 2020 plebiscite on the proposal to split the province into three areas.

As for the rest of the country, the poll body said the application and updating of records will be done at the Office of the Election Officer from Mondays to Saturdays including holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age on or before election day or on May 9, 2022; a resident of the Philippines for at least one year; and must have lived in the place where he or she intends to vote for at least six months on or before election day.

The registration period will run until September 30, 2021, except on the following dates:

  • April 9, 2020 (Maundy Thursday)
  • April 10, 2020 (Good Friday)
  • December 25, 2020 (Christmas Day)
  • April 1, 2021 (Maundy Thursday)
  • April 2, 2021 (Good Friday)

Comelec also said that registered voters as of May 13, 2019 midterm elections need not apply anew.


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