THE Commission on Elections said it has informed the Supreme Court that it has agreed to release the 1,356 unused vote counting machines units to Smartmatic-TIM despite the election protest filed former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Please be advised that the Commission has approved the request of Smartmatic-TIM 2016, Inc. [SMIT] for the release of 1,356 units of vote counting machines [VCMs] which were delivered to the Commission on Elections for contingency purposes during the last 09 May 2016 National, Local and ARMM elections,” according to a two-page letter dated September 29 addressed to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
The Comelec informed the en banc through the Chief Justice of its decision approving the request of Smartmatic-TIM for the release of the VCMs which were delivered to the Comelec for contingency purposes during the May 9, 2016 national and local elections.
“The 1, 356 VCMs were not actually deployed and/or used during said elections, and as such, the Commission considers the same as not with the scope of the Precautionary Protection Order issued by the Honorable Tribunal,” the letter stated.
The SC sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal earlier issued the PPO, which covers all the ballot boxes and their contents, including the ballots, voter’s receipts and election returns, the lists of voters, particularly the Election Day Computerized Voter’s List (EDCVL), and voters registration records (VRRs), and the books of voters and the audit logs, transmission logs, and all log files.
PET has earlier issued a precautionary order to preserve the integrity and safety of all the ballots, ballot boxes, voters’ receipts, election returns, computerized voters’ list, audit logs, transmission results, log files and other documents and paraphernalia used in the May 2016 elections due to Marcos’ election protest.
Also covered by the PPO were all other documents or paraphernalia used in the elections, including the automated election equipment and records such as the VCMs, CCS units, Secure Digital (SD) cards (main and backup), and the other data storage devices containing electronic data and ballot images, evidencing the conduct and the results of the elections in all of 92,509 clustered precincts that functioned in the last elections.
However, Marcos lawyer Jose Amor Amorado said VCMs and all other election-related paraphernalia, including the automated election equipment and records, in all 92,509 clustered precincts used in the May 9 elections are covered by the PPO because they were the contingency machines that were deployed during the elections.
“These contingency machines were used during the last elections as contingency VCMs. Some of them were deployed admittedly during the earlier meetings in different areas. Some of them were left here in [Comelec warehouse] Sta. Rosa [Laguna],” Amorado said.