By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
President Duterte’s advice to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to dispose of Smartmatic may have been said in frustration of the various issues that marred the midterm polls, an election official said.
In an interview in ANC on Tuesday, Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said the poll body is studying the advice of Duterte and other poll watchdog groups to junk its deal with the technology provider.
“He is the president, he represents the country, and he’s popular. It may be a reflection of a sense of frustration perhaps whether real or unreal or true or not, it’s an expression of frustration,” he said. “We are sensitive about that and we are studying those suggestions.”
Earlier, Duterte told the Comelec to dispose of Smartmatic and look for a new election provider that is free of fraud.
The poll official said it is equally important to adopt an election system that voters have confidence in, whether that is manual or automated.
“The bottom line is that people have to trust the result of the process. If they can trust manual elections, so be it. If they trust automated elections, so be it. Machines are just tools,” he said.
Guia also reiterated that the Comelec has to have a legal basis before they can blacklist Smartmatic.
“We must have a reason for disqualifying any entity. There has to be a basis. Otherwise, that would be a restraining exercise of trade and opportunity to have a contract with the government,” he said.
“We are investigating, as we are, the things that have happened in these elections and we may bring back what happened in the previous elections as a ledge and see. We might come up with some evaluation for that. But we have to be fair with everyone,” he added.
About 1,000 SD cards and up to 600 vote counting machines malfunctioned on election day. A glitch in the transparency server also delayed the release of election results for about seven hours.
However, the random manual audit showed that this year’s elections have an accuracy rate of 99.9953 percent, making it the most accurate automated elections in the country so far.