By May Anne Love Deseo
DAVAO CITY – Election watchdogs recorded various cases of voter disenfranchisement as a result of machine glitches and lack of biometrics information in yesterday’s national polls.
Kontra Daya Southern Mindanao reported there were voters’ list mismatch which occurred in Southern Mindanao, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and North Cotabato provinces and in Cagayan de Oro City.
The group said there were seven cases of disenfranchisement of voters, 34 cases for transmission delays, 31 Vote Counting Machine (VCM) failure and error during the election, 15 inconsistent vote receipts (undervote, mismatch of candidates voted and counted), and 11 non-printing of receipts.
For its part, Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS) Executive Director Jimmie-Loe Dela Vega and the E-CHAMP (Election that is Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful) said that they received complaints from registered voters who failed to cast their ballots as a result of their failure to register for biometrics at the Commission on Election.
“We advised them that as soon as they can (after the elections) they have to troop to the Comelec and have themselves registered. And get their biometrics taken,” he said.
E-Champ Communications Committee Head Cyra Joanna Sevilla said they also processed complaints regarding operational irregularities caused by over-heating of the Vote Counting Machines, unprinted receipts and rejected ballots.
Atty. Karen Jimeno, SmartMatic Head for Voters’ Education said in a news report that they recorded a total of 143 machines out of 92,509 which were replaced due to malfunction, as well as a count of 2,363 voters’ complaints.
Kontra Daya also reported that in Mindanao, there were four reported harassments, two cases of vote-buying and a case about fake ballots.
Along with the verified reports, Kontra Daya Southern Mindanao volunteers and staff proceeded to the Comelec Region XI office in Magsaysay Park, here on Monday afternoon to protest and manifest electoral fraud, voter disenfranchisement, and several concerns involving the elections.
DACS’ Dela Vega said that many voters “took for granted” the announcements made by the Comelec that “without biometrics people will not be able to vote.”
“You could understand why Comelec cannot sufficiently respond to these things which could have actually been attended to by the voters themselves,” he said.
He said that as far as their E-Champ advocacy is concerned, they have presented themselves as the “citizen’s arm” in helping the election’s efficiency.
He said that they oriented their volunteers in handling situations such as explaining to voters the requirements in order to vote properly.
“It’s been in our intentions that the elections be peaceful… That’s also one reason why we were selective of the areas where we assigned our student volunteers,” Dela Vega said.
He added that they did not deploy their volunteers to areas within the watchlist of the Comelec and Philippines National Police. (With a report from Maria Patricia C. Borromeo/davaotoday.com)