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Only 188 VCMs were replaced — Smartmatic

Despite the glitches of vote counting machines reported in various areas of the country during the conduct of May 9 polls, Smartmatic Philippines said most of the VCMs functioned properly.

A report on “24 Oras” by GMA News' John Consulta on Wednesday said there were several complaints regarding the VCM operations including machines that overheated, with some voters could not feed their ballots into the machines while others broke down.

There were more than 2,000 complaints against the VCMs deployed to different regions in the country.

However, based on Smartmatic's National Technical Support Center, only 188 VCMs were replaced.

Atty. Karen Jimeno, spokesperson of Smartmatic, Comelec's accredited VCM supplier, said there were 92,509 VCMs distributed all over the country. But only 188 or less than 1 percent of the total number of machines deployed for the election had to be replaced.

“Ninety-six percent of the votes have been transmitted and counted. That gives you an idea na sa kabuuan, gumana ng maayos ang mga vote counting machines,” she added.

According to the National Technical Support Center, of the 3,110 calls for VCM support, 2,992 were about procedural issues and not on malfunctioning machines.

Jimeno said most of the problems were caused by human error.

“When they were trouble shooting, they found out that the cause was because the thermal paper was not refilled properly. May iba naman, baliktad yung pagkakabit ng thermal paper. Maraming human error and human factors involved that had nothing to do with the machines,” she said.

She underscored that there is no way to change the data transmitted by the VCMs, because these employed automatic transmission and human intervention is not allowed.

The damaged SD cards that already contain data cannot be replaced, because the VCM's design include a back up SD card.

“Ang mga replacement VCM, palaging dumadaan sa initialization kung kaya madaling makita kung may laman na ito o wala bago isalang,” Jimeno said.

“Kahit hindi agad mag-transmit electronically, agad-agad pini-print yung 30 election returns at binibigay yung kopya nito sa watchdogs at watchers ng political parties. So may nagbago ba? Kayang-kaya nila i-check,” she added.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) cannot chose what data they can transmit because the data is transmitted simultaneously to the transparency and Comelec servers, the spokesperson of Smartmatic said.

“Di nila p'wedeng i-hostage o hawakan yung resulta bago ilabas kasi real time. Ibig sabihin kung ano yung mata-transmit, yun ang lalabas sa server,” she added. — Ted Cordero, BAP, GMA News