2022 Philippine Elections

Comelec starts VCM deployment to provinces despite Robredo camp pushback

Dwight de Leon
Comelec starts VCM deployment to provinces despite Robredo camp pushback

SEND OFF. Comelec officials representatives from the PPCRV and various political parties witnessed the send-off ceremony for the transport of VCMs and other election paraphernalia at the Comelec warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on Saturday midnight, April 2, 2022.

Rappler

(1st UPDATE) Prior to the dispatch, Robredo's lawyer Romulo Macalintal urged the Comelec not to push through with the event, saying they were notified only on Friday afternoon

MANILA, Philippines – The delivery to various provinces of vote-counting machines (VCMs) that will be used for the 2022 elections began on Saturday midnight, April 2, despite a call for postponement made by the lawyer of presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo, who said their camp was given a short notice about the dispatch kickoff.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan and other poll commissioners were present at the ceremonial activity on Friday night, April 1, at the poll body’s warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where some 106,000 vote-counting machines were housed prior to deployment.

From April 2 to April 19, the Comelec’s election supplies forwarder F2 Logistics will transport the VCMs to different local hubs across the country for temporary storage pending their distribution to the various polling centers before election day on May 9.

Aside from VCMs, the trucks on Saturday midnight also contained consolidation and canvassing system (CCS) laptops, and transmission devices.

Prior to the dispatch kickoff, Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal urged the Comelec not to push through with the event, saying they were notified only on Friday afternoon about it.

“This is very disappointing especially at this time when the electorate would like to have very transparent activities of the Comelec to ensure that the rights and interests of the candidates are protected as well as the interests of the voters,” Macalintal had said.

The Comelec, however, in a statement on Friday night, said “prior notice has already been given to all political parties, political candidates, party-list groups, and accredited citizens’ arms of the commission in early February.”

Among the accredited citizen’s arms present on Friday night were representatives of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, which a day prior had its first meeting with Pangarungan.

“We took the opportunity to reiterate our earlier requests for access to certain activities of the Comelec such as logistics transport of accountable materials for the elections,” PPCRV spokesman Vann dela Cruz told Rappler.

The Comelec already began transporting external batteries for the VCMs in December, and the ballot boxes in February.

Official ballots, meanwhile, will be delivered to the consignees, which are the city and municipal treasurers, from April 20 to May 5.

F2 Logistics, the winning bidder of the crucial contract on the transportation of election equipment, has been the subject of scrutiny over its ties to President Rodrigo Duterte’s major 2016 campaign donor Dennis Uy.

Comelec starts VCM deployment to provinces despite Robredo camp pushback

But poll officials have defended the agreement, saying no grounds were found to say there was conflict of interest involved. 

Comelec completes printing of ballots

The Comelec completed printing ballots for the 2022 elections weeks ahead of schedule, the poll body said in a tweet on Saturday.

– Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.