TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Malfunctioning vote-counting machines (VCMs) caused major delays in voting in various barangays (villages) in Tacloban City on election day, May 9. (READ: How to prevent cheating with the vote-counting machines)
In Marasbaras Elementary School, a VCM in precinct 135 stopped accepting ballots at around 9 AM. Voters were asked to continue voting even when no receipts were issued to them.
When the voters insisted for receipts, the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) told them to wait until the VCM worked. It was only at around 1:45 PM when a replacement VCM was installed. Some 165 votes were cast out of the 450 registered voters in the precinct.
The same problem was also encountered in Sagkahan National High School. In precinct 103 of Barangay 63, a VCM shut down at 1:32 PM but BEIs decided to continue the polls. They fed the ballots by batch in the legislative building at 5 PM.
Reports of VCMs not printing election receipts were also cited in Banez Elementary School, but the VCM there was replaced after an hour.
A case of “returning ballot,” because it was unoriginal, was also reported in San Jose Elementary School, the school with the most number of voters, covering 11 barangays.
Tacloban has 138 barangays, clustered into 232 precincts, with nearly 130,000 registered voters. Eastern Visayas has 5,754 VCMs given to the same number of clustered precincts with 200 contingency machines. (READ: WATCH: Guide for teachers on duty on election day)
In Palo, Leyte’s capital, mayoral candidate Matin Petilla, with her sons gubernatorial candidate Dominic Petilla and senatorial candidate Jericho Petilla, cast their votes at around 7 AM in Guindapunan Elementary School.
Archbishop John Du of the Archdiocese of Palo visited Palo Central School to inspect the precints and bless the voters who were present. Food packs and bottled waters were distributed to poll watchers and facilitators. – with a report from Chris Billes/Rappler.com
Jene-Anne Pangue and Chris Billes are Rappler Movers.