Pimentel backs PRRD call to get rid of Smartmatic

MANILA Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Friday backed President Rodrigo Duterte's advice to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to let go of the services of Smartmatic in the country's automated elections.

Pimentel, chair of the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people's participation, said the President has a good point in suggesting to look for a new provider that is "free of fraud".

"I have been thinking along that line too. We need a new system in 2022," Pimentel told reporters in a text message.

Smartmatic International has been providing the VCMs used in the past three automated elections in 2010, 2013 and 2016.

Pimentel pushed for the use of a hybrid of both manual and automated election system for next year's polls.

"Better if counting can be witnessed at the precinct level," Pimentel said.

In his speech during his meeting with the Filipino community in Tokyo, Japan, Duterte said allegations of cheating have been rampant from both sides of the political parties.

"Kasi ang Liberal (Party) sabi nila nadaya sila. Ako sabi nila nadaya rin (The Liberal Party said they were cheated. People also say I was cheated)," he said.

The President said the poll body has enough time to look for a new service provider since it has three years to prepare for the next automated elections.

"You know it's creating an environment of hostile attitude against that Smartmatic. You have three years. Kakatapos lang ng election (Elections have just concluded). Palitan na ninyo kasi (Replace it because) it is no longer acceptable to me, to the people, and even to the congressmen who are here," he said.

Duterte said the public has no more trust in Smartmatic. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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