Macalintal says Smartmatic-TIM should pay for poll glitches, defective supplies

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ELECTION LAWYER Romulo B. Macalintal said Smartmatic-TIM, the automated elections system (AES) provider of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), should be made to pay for damages relating to the May 13 midterm elections. In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Macalintal said President Rodrigo R. Duterte should focus on getting a refund from the defective materials such as malfunctioning vote counting machines (VCMs) and voter registration verification machines (VRVMs). The election lawyer’s statement comes after Mr. Duterte said in late May that Comelec should look for another AES provider that is “fraud-free.” “What President Duterte should do is to remind or pressure Comelec to ask Smartmatic and other suppliers to compensate our government for damages for the hundreds of VCMs and (VRVM) machines that malfunctioned; defective writing or shading pens; glitches in the transparency servers, and for all other technical problems that caused delays in the conduct of the 2019 elections,” the lawyer said. At the same time, Mr. Macalintal acknowledged that despite the malfunctions, there is weak proof that the VCMs used during the elections served as instruments of fraud after the Comelec released the initial findings of their random manual audit (RMA) last week. The RMA result showed 99.9953% accuracy, the highest accuracy rate ever since the AES implementation in 2010. “(W)ith the recent result of the Random Manual Counting which shows that the VCM’s count was 99.9% accurate and taking into consideration the past results of election protest since the first automated polls in our country in 2010 where the physical count of the ballots tallied with VCM’s count, it appears that the results of the 2019 elections were accurate and no electoral fraud was committed that compromised the integrity of these VCMs,” he said. — Gillian M. Cortez