Comelec OKs 1-hour voting extension in areas where polls started late

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved a one-hour extension of polls on Monday in all places where voting did not start on time.

“May mga presenting naantala sa pagbubukas kaya ang aming napagkasunduan ay kung ang present ay nagbukas ng 9:00 am up, ito ay ieextend ng isang oras. Ito ay matatpos ng 6:00 p.m. pero these are only for the precincts that started later,” said Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista.

He noted that the Commission en banc agreed to extend to another hour the voting in precincts that failed to start due several reasons including those vote counting machines (VCMs) that malfunctioned.

“Basta instructions sa lahat, pag naantala pagboto, merong one hour extension. Hindi case to case, one hour sa lahat,” he explained.

Bautista added, “Yung six o clock, if you are within 30 meter radius, pabobotohin naman kayo. Pag nasa presinto by 6:00 p.m., ilalagay kayo sa listahan at pabobotohin kayo even if it goes beyond 6:00 p.m.”

As of 2:00 p.m., a total of 150 VCMs which malfunctioned have been replaced.

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon cited several possible reasons why the machines did not function.

“Usually because of the long journey isasakay mo bus sa mga truck, bang, jeepney, across, syempe ang machine is bound to (malfunction), so long travel kasi we checked naman po lahat ‘yan (machines) bago dineploy,” she explained.

“’Yung temperature nila (machines),” Guanzon added.

She was asked if the number is worrisome for them, she said, “Hindi naman po, 92,000 ilan ‘yan, 150 divided by 92,000 nationwide po ‘yung replacement.”

Guanzon added, “Stay calm, dahlia lahat namn po ng problema we tried to anticipate, hindi naman po laat ng problema maanticipate pero masolusyonan po, kasi prepared kami diyan.”

The poll body official noted that all the machines have been replaced.

“That’s very small, don’t worry and that’s replaced already,” Guanzon added.

She said that a total of 1,300 VCMs malfunctioned in the 2013 polls. Ferdinand Patinio/PNA/