Almost half of 63-M ballots printed so far: Comelec

Almost half of 63-M ballots printed so far: Comelec

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday reported that it has so far printed more than 28 million ballots or almost half of the total 63,662,481 ballots to be used in the May 13, 2019 National and Local Elections (NLE).

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez noted that they are on track in the preparations for the forthcoming polls.

“The daily average of ballots being printed at the National Printing Office (NPO) is 1 million, and 45.38 percent or 28,887,821 have been printed as of March 11, 2019,” he said in an interview.

Jimenez reiterated that they expect to finish printing earlier than the projected date which is on April 25.

The poll body official added that the dispatch of official ballots, accountable forms and other supplies as well as automated election system (AES) equipment will start on April 24.

“These various election paraphernalia will be dispatched to the various regional offices of the Comelec through the country will follow a staggered schedule, and is targeted to be completed within five days upon the start of dispatch,” Jimenez added.

On the other hand, he also reported that the training of Election Boards (EBs), who will serve in the May polls is ongoing.

“EBs in the far-flung areas such as in the Mindanao provinces are being prioritized,” the Comelec official added.

Earlier, the poll body said that the first to be printed are overseas absentee voting (OAV) ballots, followed by provinces in Mindanao, Visayas, Luzon and the National Capital Region (NCR).

Meanwhile, Jimenez cautioned the public against malicious rumors intended to undermine public trust and confidence in the poll body.

“The persons or parties responsible for starting and spreading these malicious allegations of wrongdoing — including accusation of graft, corruption and partisanship in the elections, both National and Local — are put on notice that their activities will not go unpunished,” the Comelec official added.

Jimenez issued the statement after they have monitored allegations of wrongdoings against Commissioners and officials.

“Basically, according to the rumors there were offers that elections can be fixed. They are claiming that they know this person. Allegations of partisanship or expressions of support supposedly by a commissioner for a particular candidate,” he said.

“We’re seeing this primarily in the local elections, we’re here to set to set that record straight and to warn the public not to fall for these kinds of allegations and malicious rumors,” the poll body official added.

Jimenez noted that they will be coordinating with the appropriate law enforcement agencies to discover the persons or parties responsible, and will not hesitate to pursue all available remedies to the fullest extent possible.

“Undermining public confidence in the elections is an election offense, and persons or parties engaging in cowardly and dishonorable acts of dishonesty that tend to erode public trust in the mechanisms and processes of democratic elections will be held accountable,” he added. Ferdinand Patinio/