Comelec says 961 vote-counting machines defective

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) disclosed on Tuesday afternoon, May 14, that 961 vote-counting machines (VCMs) bogged down in this year's elections, more than the defective VCMs in 2016.

In a press conference, Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said this is 1.1% of the 85,769 total number of VCMs used in the elections on Monday, May 13.

While small compared to the total number of VCMs, this is higher than the 801 VCMs that had to be replaced in the Philippines' last national and local elections held in 2016.

Defective VCMs form part of the host of problems hounding the Comelec in this year's elections – from around a million bleeding markers, to defective VCMs, SD cards that didn't work, and the record-low process of reporting unofficial results.

Despite these problems, the Comelec asserted on Tuesday that the electoral process on Monday has been "successful."

"Sa part namin, sa tingin namin successful pa rin ang election natin because ang rate nga, masyado pa ring mababa para sa amin (On our part, we think our elections were still successful because the rate is still too low for us)," Abas said. 

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, steering committee head for the 2019 elections, gave the same assurances.

"Despite those glitches that we had, since this was less than 1% of the entire 85,000 plus VCMs we can say the election is successful. In fact we are already 96% in transmission, so this is faster compared to past elections," Casquejo said. – with a report from Sofia Tomacruz/

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at