Despite 'hiccups,' more than 10M ballots printed – Comelec
MANILA, Philippines – Despite initial “hiccups” that delayed the ballot-printing process, at least 10.5 million ballots have been printed for the May 9 elections as of Monday, February 29, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.
This is nearly 20% of the 56.77 million ballots needed for the May 9 elections.
At this rate, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said, ballot printing has not yet been placed on “full speed.”
“Bibilis pa siya lalo,” Jimenez said. (This will go faster.)
This comes after the Comelec encountered several problems in ballot printing.
The Comelec, for one, had to reprint the first batch of ballots after the name of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s party – the People’s Reform Party – had been omitted from the original ballot template.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said “the supplier of the ballot faces,” or technology provider Smartmatic, is responsible for this mistake, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Comelec mum on liability
Bautista, however, wouldn’t confirm if the Comelec will hold Smartmatic liable for this error, the Inquirer report said.
Bautista reportedly said: “I want to focus first on making sure that things are done. Fault-finding will lead us nowhere. What’s important is, we have solutions.”
Before the error involving Santiago, ballot printing was already delayed at least 3 times due to various reasons. These reasons include system problems and a case filed by presidential bet Senator Grace Poe against the Comelec before the Supreme Court (SC).
Ballot printing was supposed to start on January 26. It was moved to February 1, then to February 8, then to February 15.
On Poe, the Comelec eventually decided to include her in the ballot while waiting for the decision of the SC.
Referring to delays that have hit the Comelec, Jimenez said on Monday, “In any process, in 2010, in 2013, we really have hiccups along the way to full preparedness, and that should be expected.”
“And as far as the Comelec is concerned," the Comelec spokesman said, “we take these criticisms in the best possible light, meaning to say we assume that they only have our best interest, and the best interest of the nation, at heart.” – Rappler.com
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