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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Comelec allows recount of ballots used in 2022 polls

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The Commission on Elections authorized a recount of select ballots used in the 2022 polls to settle accusations there were discrepancies in the votes.

“This is consistent with the Commission (en banc)’s commitment to uphold fair, orderly, and honest elections and to pursue all avenues to strengthen transparency in the conduct of elections,” the Comelec said in its resolution.

The recount will cover either physical ballots or ballot images.

Former Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. earlier claimed there were discrepancies in the votes in the 2022 polls.

The decision was part of the poll body’s resolution perpetually disqualifying technology provider Smartmatic from participating in “all Comelec procurement activities.”

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The resolution cited the case of the US government against former Comelec chairman Juan Andres Bautista for allegedly receiving bribesin “exchange for awarding a contract for election machines to Smartmatic Corp.”

The recount of ballots in every region will be of no cost to the petitioners, Comelec said.

Comelec chairman George Garcia earlier said Smartmatic can still appeal the decision.

“It is hard to say what their remedy should be. It’s for their lawyers to decide,” Garcia said on Wednesday.

Smartmatic, for its part, said the accusations against them are “unfounded” and that the petitioners “lacked evidence.”

“The petitioners’ clear objective is both political, attempting to delegitimize the government; and commercial, supporting Smartmatic competitors. These claims are unfounded, presented as facts but lacking any evidence,” Smartmatic said. With Vito Barcelo

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