DAVAO CITY—Malfunction of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS), rejected ballots, no ballots, names of voters missing from the voters’ list, vote-buying, and military electioneering and intimidation of voters. These were some of the irregularities reported by eager voters to the hotline of election watchdog Pagbabago during last Monday’s historic automated elections.
As early as 8:00 in the morning, there were reports of 20 cases of ballots rejected by the PCOS machine as many as four times before being successfully scanned. The report came from a precinct in Barangay 76-A.
Rejected ballots were also reported from Bago Gallera and San Juan Elem School. “Most of the cases reported to us were complaints because of the long queues and the long hours that a voter had to endure before getting a priority number,” Pagbabago said.
Complaints of long hours came from precincts in Sta. Ana, Barangay R. Castillo, San Juan in Agdao, and Barangay 19-B. It was a general observation that the voting process took too slow and was very tiring for most of the voters to endure. Apparently, there were reported cases of voters going home because they could not wait any longer. Some came back but others did not.
50 percent voter turn-out in the city
Missing names of voters were reported from precincts in Sta. Ana Elementary School, Barangay San Juan in Agdao, Lumiad in Paquibato all in Davao City. The same was also reported from San Isidro in Lupon Davao Oriental. Cases of missing names contributed to the delays of the voting process.
From 2:55 until 4:10 on the afternoon of election day, reports of malfunctioning PCOS machines were reported from Marilog, Buhangin, Paquibato, Agdao, Catalunan Grande, and Barangay 22-C in Davao City. The same problems also occurred in Barangay San Vicente in Banay-banay and Kalubihan, Davao Oriental, and in Barangay Licop in the Island Garden City of Samal (Igascos).
There was also a case of memo card malfunction in Barangay Centro, South San Juan in Agdao.
In Barangay Damilag Mapula in Paquibato, a watcher reported that they could not transmit the votes because there was no modem. The board of election inspectors (BEIs) had to bring the ballot boxes on foot to the town center and then reportedly rode a dumptruck to the City Council building, where the canvassing was held to scan the ballots there.
In Lomundao in Marilog, voters were lined up at 6 o’clock in the morning but voting only started at 11:30am. According to the Comelec, the machine still needed to be charged.
As anticipated by different groups, automated polls could not prevent fraud and other illegal activities such as vote-buying. A vote buyer was caught in Barangay Lapu-lapu in Agdao and was brought to Sta. Ana.Police Station. Vote-buying was also reprtoed in Barangay 21 in Mintal Elementary School and in Barangay Duterte.
Pre-shaded ballots were also reported in Osmeña Elementary School.
There was also a reported case of an assistor of illiterate voters who made the voters shade the name of a certain local candidate. This was in Barangay Emamaling in Magpet, North Cotabato.
The Pagbabago hotline also received reports of military presence inside polling areas and military distributing flyers which urged people not to vote for progressive party-lists.
In Pandaitan Elementary School in Paquibato District, there was a report of five fully armed members of the 69th Infantry Battalion (IB) who were inside the school vicinity. In Davao’s second district, handbills and flyers against Makabayan senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza were distributed. The handbills were titled “Padulong sa Komunismo (On the road to communism).”
Also, In Barangay Zone 1 in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, the military reportedly distributed flyers asking the people not to vote for progressive partylists on the eve of elections.
“From the reports that reached our hotline, it is quite evident that many Filipino people definitely guarded the automated polls last Monday. But these reports will not end in the documentation. We will make sure that those who were responsible for the illegal activities should be held accountable,” Pagbabago said.
“We are also enjoining everyone to closely guard candidates who won the elections and ensure that the people’s agenda for change will not be set aside by the winning candidates,” the election watchdog added.
Landline number (hotline) – 273-2669
Mobile number – 0930-532-1683