MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not supportive of calls to extend the voting hours amid reports that some precincts did not open on time.
According to Comelec Commissioner George Garcia, there is no reason to extend voting nationwide since the reported delays due to power outages which are only minimal and have already been resolved.
“The extension of voting, at this point, is negative. Up until this time, the Comelec en Banc has decided that voting will be until 7 p.m. Nothing will justify (the) extension of voting at this point,” he said in a press briefing on Monday.
“The brownouts in some areas lasted for only about 15 minutes. That’s not that long,” the poll body official added.
On the other hand, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said there’s still enough time for voters to cast their votes.
“In my opinion, all these voters will be catered (to) until 7 p.m.,” he said.
Meanwhile, Garcia noted there is nothing wrong with their decision to conduct batch feeding of accomplished ballots in different polling precincts during the May 9 polls.
He explained that such decision was included in the contingency measures as anticipated by the Comelec Steering Committee and with the approval of the Commission en banc.
“If the machines malfunctioned, what do we do? If it will take three hours to repair, does it mean we have to suspend voting for three hours? This is the reason why we have these contingencies so that we can continue voting while machines are undergoing repairs,” Garcia said.
He assured that the accomplished ballots will be safely secured by members of the Electoral Boards (EBs).
“There is not a single precinct that will say that the ballots piled up in the desks of the EBs got lost or snatched. This is simply because they are being monitored by the watchers and the citizens’ arm,” he added.
Earlier, the Comelec reported that some 2,000 vote counting machines had malfunctioned, and needed repair, with some requiring replacements. (PNA)