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Dropping Smartmatic needs legal basis, says Comelec spokesperson

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Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez — PHILSTAR/BOY SANTOS

COMMISSION ON Elections (Comelec) Spokesperson James B. Jimenez said there should be a legal basis before dropping its partnership with Smartmatic despite the reported glitches during the May 13 elections and the call of President Rodrigo R. Duterte. “There has to be a legal basis, but remember Smartmatic has nothing to do in counting of the votes. Ang (The) issues ay beyond that,” said Mr. Jimenez in a chance interview with reporters on Monday, June 3. He added that a forensic investigation is being conducted regarding the glitches. Meanwhile, Mr. Jimenez also said the Comelec is ready to investigate the low turnout of votes for party-lists in the May 13 elections, but discounted as a factor the placement of the names at the back of the ballot. “They (party-list representatives) are calling attention to a very large drop in number of votes for the party-lists and that deserves an investigation,” he said. Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo A. Garbin Jr. lamented that the layout led to the low turnout of votes with only 27 million cast. Comelec earlier said the midterm polls had a voter turnout of about 75%, which means more than 47 million out of the 63 million registered voters. “Partylists are not mainstream, palaging makakalimutan (It can always be forgotten),” said Mr. Garbin. In response, Mr. Jimenez said the layout could not be cited as cause of disenfranchisement among the party-lists. “First of all, ‘yung sinasabi ng members na (what the members are saying on) disenfranchisement, I think most of these po is due to the fact that they (voters) did not vote for the party-list.” — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

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