As of 7:00 pm today, Kontra Daya and Vote Report PH received 3,423 reports from volunteers and citizen watchers. Of these, our volunteers have verified 919 reports.
VCM errors, illegal campaigning significant contributors to reports
A big bulk of monitored cases by both Kontra Daya and Vote Report PH showed how Filipino voters were greatly affected by numerous VCM errors and illegal campaigning.
Of the verified cases, there were 321 cases of VCM errors, which include paper jams and rejection of ballots. This accounts for 35 percent of the total verified reports in various regions in the country. Earlier, Kontra Daya noted how the number of VCMs that malfunctioned has doubled compared to 2016 and 2019 data (1,800 for 2022 vs. 961 in 2019 and 801 in 2016) according to Comelec’s own data. For this year, the VCM problems affected over one million voters (1 VCM for every 620 voters).
There were 112 cases of illegal campaigning, which includes distribution of sample ballots within the vicinity of poll precincts. This accounts for 12% of reports that were monitored and verified by Kontra Daya and Vote Report PH.
These issues have long plagued Philippine elections since it was automated in 2010, yet these have remained unaddressed.
Continued red-tagging, disinformation levied against progressive candidates
Among the persistent reports that Kontra Daya has received and verified are on red-tagging and disinformation against progressive candidates. This despite the Comelec’s clarification on Sunday that partylists under the Makabayan coalition are not disqualified from today’s poll.
Tarpaulins, posters, and flyers continue to be found in various places in Cagayan, Metro Manila, Pampanga, and Laguna. These can even be found near or within polling centers, a clear case of illegal campaigning.
In Pampanga, a voters’ assistance desk manned by local volunteers and policemen was riddled with red-tagging posters linking the Makabayan bloc party list groups to the underground communist movement.
Attacks against progressive candidates continued to increase since the start of campaign season. Earlier last week, a member of the Samahan ng mga Manininda of UP Diliman Campus received a text message red-tagging progressive partylists and candidates under Makabayan. Meanwhile, the phone numbers of some campaigners of Anakpawis partylist were hacked to appear that they sent a text blast promising 1,000 pesos in load.
Comelec, Smartmatic, F2 Logistics liable for widespread VCM failures
Kontra Daya maintains that Comelec, Smartmatic, and F2 Logistics should be held liable over today’s election blunders, which include the massive breakdown of vote counting machines, and voter disenfranchisement.
Despite hundreds of millions that were spent to supposedly refurbish 96,981 of the 97,315 VCMs (De Leon, 2022), cases of VCM failures continue to rise every election cycle. A P637-million contract to refurbish the VCMs was awarded to Smartmatic despite the many controversies it faced since it became part of the national and local elections in 2010.
These machine breakdowns have contributed to the voters’ disenfranchisement as they experienced long queues outside poll precincts.
Despite earlier pronouncements that there are supposedly 2,000 VCMs on standby, there were reports that defective machines had not been not replaced. Now, the Comelec is stating that this election year is the VCM’s “last dance”, as the quality and efficiency of the machines have deteriorated (De Leon, 2022).
Kontra Daya also noted the VCMs have been used in the last three election cycles and that there are fewer machines this year on standby compared to the previous elections (2,000 in 2022 vs. 7,000 in 2019) (Esguerra, 2019).
Despite repeated calls from Kontra Daya and other concerned groups and individuals, Comelec has not extended voting hours.
At this point, Kontra Daya strongly denounces the gross failure of the COMELEC, Smartmatic and logistics service provider F2 Logistics in ensuring a smooth, transparent and credible automated election system. The people are right in expressing indignation over this dire development. #
De Leon, D. (2021, November 25). 99.6% of VCMs for 2022 polls already refurbished – Comelec. Rappler. https://www.rappler.com/nation/elections/comelec-report-refurbished-vote-counting-machines-2022-polls/
De Leon, D. (2022, May 9). After election day hiccups, Comelec eyes retiring aging VCMs in 2025. Rappler. https://www.rappler.com/nation/elections/comelec-eyes-retiring-aging-vote-counting-machines-2025/
Esguerra, D. J. (2019, April 26). Comelec explains use of fewer counting machines for 2019 polls. Philippine Daily Inquirer. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1111028/comelec-explains-use-of-fewer-counting-machines-for-2019-polls