WORKERS at the National Printing Office seen working on printed ballots during the Comelec walk through on March 15. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) will burn defective ballots for this year’s elections, according to an election commissioner.

“We will burn the defective ballots in front of members of the media, representatives of political parties, candidates and citizen’s arms,” Election Commissioner George Erwin M. Garcia said in a news briefing on Monday. “We will still print testing ballots for final testing and sealing and then reprint defective ballots.”

There are about 178,000 defective ballots and 320,000 ballots for verification as of Monday, he said.

Comelec last week said it had finished printing 67.4 million ballots for the May 9 national and local elections before the April 25 target.

Meanwhile, Mr. Garcia said the second presidential debate on Sunday had improved from last month’s debate.

“This debate really showed the capabilities and qualifications of each candidate,” he said in Filipino. “Their positions and platforms were more clearly expressed.”

Meanwhile, Senator Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, who heads the committee on public services, said cash aid distribution to public drivers and operators should be exempted from the election ban.

“We call on the Commission on Elections to expedite its decision on the appeal by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for exemption to allow it to continue the distribution,” she told reporters in a Viber message.

“Our public utlity vehicle drivers and operators have waited long for the cash aid that we have funded in the annual budget to bring succor to our people in times of distress,” she said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez and Alyssa Nicole O. Tan