Comelec: Binay can re-feed rejected ballot due to malfunctioning VCM

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said May 13 that former Vice President Jejomar Binay can still re-feed his ballot after a vote-counting machine (VCM) at his precinct rejected several other ballots as well.

“Upon investigation of the problem, nakita natin that yung problema pala lay with the machine, so the machine has been replaced,” said Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez in a press briefing.

“So ang gagawin natin ngayon is that ‘yung mga na-reject will be batch-fed back into the machine and so the ballot of VP Binay will also be evaluated kung pwedeng ma-refeed pa.”

Jimenez said the Comelec is still investigating the problem with the VCM.

He added that Comelec Education and Information Division Director Frances Arabe will join Binay back to his precinct for the re-feeding, but denied that there was special treatment.

Hindi lang siya ang makaka-refeed,” he said. “Lahat ng mga na-reject, especially those that came after him, lahat ‘yun mare-refeed. It’s just that siya yung pinaka-high profile at siya yung sumugod dito.”

Jimenez also said the votes from the ballots accepted by the malfunctioning VCM have already been saved.

The ballot of the former vice president and former Makati City mayor, who is now running as Representative of the 1st District of Makati City, had been rejected eight times by the VCM earlier this morning.

Binay said he was angry when he arrived at around 8:30 a.m. at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, where the Comelec will conduct the canvassing of the votes.

He told media before meeting Jimenez and Arabe in a closed-door session that he would file a case if this issue were not resolved.

Noong una, galit ako talaga, pero meron namang Mr. Jimenez na nakakapagtulong,” Binay said at the press briefing.

Jimenez said in case voters encounter a similar issue, they should make that the ballot is preserved with the Board of Election Inspectors.

“We will have to study this situation very closely because we don’t want this to be a problem for the rest of the day,” he said. “Soaalamin natin yung solusyon na ginawa natin dito and we will see if we can cascade it to other places kung sakaling magkaroon ngsimilar problems.”

Despite this, Jimenez said the Comelec is responding to these issues as best it can.

“So far, we have been able to find solutions to the problems,” he said. “We are hopeful that the rest of the day will still be the same way.” -- With Ivel Santos

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