SORSOGON CITY, 13-MAY-2013 – Numerous reports of malfunctioning PCOS machines, brown-outs, and delayed voting mar the first four hours of the midterm elections, confirming the fears of various election watchdogs and youth groups.
Various field reports from volunteers of Kabataan Partylist and election watchdog Kontradaya reveal several “anomalous situations” in polling precincts all over the country, further confirming the earlier assessment of youth groups that the Commission on Elections has failed to address major issues in the automated election system (AES).
“We are off to a bad start. The problems that we are facing this morning are not minor glitches of the AES; the sheer number of incident reports confirms earlier fears we have expressed. Both the Aquino government and Comelec are accountable for not addressing PCOS problems beforehand. Massive electoral fraud is inevitable, and Team PNoy stands to gain the most from this electoral brouhaha,” said Kabataan Partylist President Atty. Terry Ridon.
There have been several notable incidents reported in the first few hours of the elections, including the lack of serial numbers of ballots in Pandi, Bulacan; the declaration of failure of elections in some parts of the Cordillera Administrative Region, not even a single functioning PCOS machine in Batasan Hills, Quezon City, 800 ballots in Compostela Valley have been switched with those intended for Baguio, 95% of PCOS machines in Lipa, Batangas reportedly malfunctioning, 8 out of 12 PCOS machines for Zamboanga not arriving in time for the elections, polling in more than 100 precincts all over the country delayed due to defective PCOS machines, and chaos and overcrowding in large precincts.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez earlier told the media that there are only 2 malfunctioning PCOS machines so far and when asked regarding the coverage of anomalies and problems he said that it was “irresponsible reporting” on the part of the media.
“Jimenez should have his eyes and ears checked. Blaming the media to cover up the fiasco wrought by malfunctioning PCOS machines is an old trick in the book. His efforts to assure the public that the election is successful thus far can easily be debunked not only by the media but by the testimonies of inconvenienced voters that are experiencing the election issues first-hand,” Ridon said.
Ridon said that with the current state of the elections, it is easy to deduce that “massive, organized and planned” electoral fraud is currently taking place.
“All these reports are susceptible to CF Card mismatch, meaning that the internal memory of PCOS machines may have been switched beforehand, also, the overwhelming number of rejected ballots is cause for concern as there will be many disenfranchised voters. PCOS machines that have been replaced may have already been inputted with a fixed number of votes for a certain candidate. As of this morning there are already too many possible fraudulent scenarios all of which both the Aquino administration and Comelec have failed miserably to address.”
“There are only 5, 000 back up PCOS machines for the entire country, how can this compensate the amount of failures and errors occurring massively across the country? Also, how can we be sure that these spare machines have not been tampered with?” Ridon asked.
Kabataan Partylist called on the youth and concerned citizens to heighten vigilance on the expected forms of fraud and other violations in their localities and play an active role in keeping the elections as clean as possible.
“The youth all over the country will remain alert for reports of election violence, fraud and other forms of violations of voter’s rights. If what we are seeing now is any indication of how this election is going to end, we must be ready to take action against those accountable for these nefarious activities,” said Ridon.