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Nanisi pa! Comelec refuses to take blame for poll fiasco, wants probe of cheap suppliers it picked

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is blaming merchants of defective supplies and equipment for the delays, mishaps and glitches in the 2019 mid-term elections.

In a briefing, Comelec chairman Sheriff Abbas said it would investigate suppliers of Secure Digital (SD) cards (S1 Technologies Inc. and Silicon Valley Computer Group) as well as ballot paper and marking pens (Triplex).
Abbas said the delays caused by the 1,665 defective SD cards affected at least 1.6 million voters.

He said 961 vote counting machines broke down on election day but he did not say whether its supplier, Smartmatic, would also be made to explain.

It was Comelec who chose these merchants and who decided to pick different suppliers for each equipment and input.

“Magdedesisyon kami kung gagamitin pa ba namin sa pangatlong beses ‘yung VCM, kung mag-bubundle kami ulit sa machine, SD cards, papel saka marking pen para synchronized,” Abbas said.

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo admitted that its decision to go cheap and low-quality was the reason for the defective SD cards.

Casquejo revealed that its bidding committee rejected Smartmatic’s SD card offer at P71 million and chose the S1-Silicon Valley offer of cheaper P29 million.

“It is possible that it is because of the low quality of SD card. We have upgraded our VCMs, so it is possible na corrupted ang SD card kaya ‘di siya nag-synchronize sa machine. As for the defective VCMs, there might be some mechanical defects in the storage and during the transit of the VCMs ,” Casquejo said.