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Duterte: Let Comelec explain VCM glitches before initiating probe

President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to address reports of defective vote counting machines that derailed the conduct of the 2019 midterm polls in several areas in the country.

At a news conference after he cast his vote at a public school in Davao City, Duterte said he would not meddle in the affairs of the Comelec since it is an independent body.

"If there is any malfunction there or if there is any aberration at all in the procedure or process of the conduct of the election let Comelec explain first to the people before we even initiate a sort of investigation. That is in recognizance of the separation of powers,"he said.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that 400 to 600 VCMs had to be replaced for being defective. In addition, Comelec has received reports of a lot of vote registration verifying machines (VRMS) not working.

When asked about his assessment of the midterm polls, Duterte said he has yet to receive reports that are "more than just the ordinary" such as incidents of vote buying and violence.

"[N]othing of a big one that would maybe, probably disturb the conduct of the elections throughout the nation," he said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police said the conduct of the elections has so far been peaceful with only "minimal" disruptions to the peace and order.

At least two explosions rocked Cotabato City and Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao hours before the polling precincts opened on Monday, with another explosion in the latter an hour after the casting of votes.

A shooting incident was also reported in Panglima Estino, Sulu which left nine injured. — RSJ, GMA News