Eastern Samar all set for May 9 - provincial Comelec
BORONGAN CITY, Philippines — Only 2 out of 699 vote counting machines (VCMs) across Eastern Samar were reported to have malfunctioned and did not complete the final testing and sealing (FTS) according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office.
These two clustered precincts are located in the towns of Oras and Llorente. Replacement VCMs coming from the reserves allotted for each municipality are currently on its way to these two towns so that all 23 towns will be ready for May 9. (READ: VCMs tested and sealed nationwide)
Atty. Andrew Bido, Eastern Samar Provincial Election Supervisor, informed Rappler that the remaining 697 precincts have only encountered minor glitches which can be immediately addressed by the accompanying IT technician assigned in every clustered precincts.
The minor glitches referred to by Bido include: jamming of thermal paper receipts, unavailable USB modem and SIM cards, undetected SD cards, and battery failure, among others.
One political party protested for a miscount of the VCM in Maydolong town which was later on dismissed upon manual counting. The miscount was attributed to the unclear shading of the ballot.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Office has recommended putting 7 towns of Eastern Samar under the Comelec’s election watch list. These towns include Arteche, Taft, General MacArthur, Jipadpad, Dolores, Quinapondan and Can-avid.
But P/SSupt. Romeo Campomanes, the Provincial Director of Eastern Samar PNP, clarified that this was due to political tensions and election-related violence committed in the 2013 midterm elections.
“We have already deployed additional security forces in these pre-identified towns by tapping the regional public safety battalion so that we can ensure a peaceful conduct of elections on May 9,” says Campomanes.
The PNP provincial chief is particularly concerned with the town of Taft which registered the first election-related violence in the province.
“We already have one shooting incident in Taft that killed a supporter and local leader of a mayoral candidate that is why we are readying for all eventualities.”
Jeorge Mayor, a local political leader of mayoralty candidate Maricon Adalim, was gunned down by his neighbor Filomino Chicano who is a retired army soldier and relative to incumbent Mayor Marian Libanan.
The police are looking for the suspect who remains at large.
The provincial PNP chief is appealing to all candidates, including their supporters, to exercise their rights in a peaceful manner.
“I encourage everyone to join us in this concerted efforts towards a clean, honest and violence-free election. We need the support of everyone to make this happen. The police will only succeed in guarding the vote if we have the backing of all constituents of Eastern Samar,”Campomanes said in a phone interview. – Rappler.com