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Duterte to Comelec: Get rid of Smartmatic, get fraud-free contractor in automated elections

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday expressed his preference for another contractor in the country's automated elections. 

Duterte, who's in Tokyo on a working visit, made the remark before the Filipino community a week after most of his candidates were proclaimed winners in the mid-term senatorial elections,

"I would like to advise Comelec now, di ko na lang hintayin. Dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud," Duterte said in a speech before the Filipino community in Tokyo.

Malacañang days before said that the 2019 elections had been credible, arguing only a small percentage of the thousands of vote counting machines had encountered problems.

It added that the delayed transmission transmission of results from precincts to the Comelec transparency server, where media entities sourced data for the quick count, should not be a cause of concern.

Still, the Palace said the Comelec should review the contract with Smartmatic following the glitches that marred the voting process and electronic transmission of results in the May 13 midterm elections.

The joint congressional oversight committee on the automated elections system will conduct a hearing on June 4 in connection with the technical glitches.

"Ang Liberal sabi nila nadaya sila. Ako sabi nila nadaya rin. It's creating an environment of hostile attitude against that Smartmatic," Duterte said.

Duterte said the Commission on Elections had the next three years or until before the 2022 presidential election to tap a new poll technology provider. 

"If you use that in the next election three years from now I don't know what will happen. Something has got to give. Improve on the systems. Stop using Smartmatic," Duterte said.

The President said he initially planned to disclose his concerns against Smartmatic in his fourth State of the Nation Address in July but he decided to make the announcement in Tokyo instead.

Venezuela-based Smartmatic has been the poll technology provider since the Philippines first implemented a nationwide automation of the elections in 2010. The Philippines holds general elections every three years. —NB, GMA News