House probe on vote-counting machines sought

MANILA House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez is calling for a congressional investigation into the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) purchase of over 97,000 vote-counting machines (VCMs) which cost PHP2.1 billion from poll technology provider Smartmatic for the 2019 midterm polls.

In a press conference, Suarez questioned Comelec's decision to purchase vote-counting machines used in the May 2016 elections, which was hounded by cheating allegations both in the national and local levels.

"We have seen the most number of election protests and contests filed 14 for local positions, 28 in the House of Representatives, one in the Senate, and one for the second highest position in the country," Suarez said.

"We cannot help but question, why would the Comelec purchase from the same supplier, the same units which were used in the contentious 2016 elections?" he added.

Suarez filed House Resolution No. 1647, urging the appropriate committee of the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation regarding Comelec's procurement of the VCMs in preparation for the May 2019 elections.

Suarez said the voting-counting machines "are not entirely free from any possible vote tampering as seen from the previous election".

"The use of these machines will not help in clearing and promoting the integrity of our national and local elections which has been clouded with fraud and manipulation for the past years," he added.

He said the House inquiry would determine whether the Comelec and Smartmatic "have been, and continue to be equal to the task of maintaining honest elections". (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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