Comelec: No 'ghost' polling precincts

Comelec: No ‘ghost’ polling precincts
By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday denied the existence of “ghost” polling centers in the list of precincts they asked Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. (TIM) to survey.

In a press briefing, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez belied an abs -cbnNews.com/Newsbreak report about “ghost” precincts in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

Citing Smartmatic-TIM’s site survey reports to the Comelec, the news agency revealed that the joint venture’s surveyors have failed to locate 57 polling centers which pertain to public schools.

“It was a regular report and it was misinterpreted as ghost precincts because of findings that supposedly so and so number was not found by the team. It’s as simple as that. The report itself does not make any claim that there are missing precincts,” he noted.

Jimenez added the existence of the voting centers, which pertain to public schools, have been assured by the election officers of the Comelec in the concerned localities.

Smartmatic-TIM hired local surveyors to check the presence of telecommunication facilities in the area.

This is part of the preparations for the automated May 10 polls which involves the use of services of telecommunication companies in automatically transmitting election results.

According to Smartmatic president for Asia Pacific Cesar Flores, they have submitted the list of the missing precincts to the Comelec for proper action.

“The Comelec said they are going to look into that… Our surveyors have checked addresses but they could not find them. We are waiting for the report of the Comelec,” he maintained.

Flores said that Smartmatic-TIM, unless the Comelec gives them a new list, would deliver the PCOS machines to the “same addresses.”

Meantime, the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) has pushed for a parallel manual counting of votes in the coming elections that would countercheck results of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the country’s first automated elections.

PBA president and former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo said they plan to reiterate their proposal to the Comelec through another letter after it was reportedly already dismissed by Comelec Chairman Jose Melo. – With Evelyn Macairan, Edu Punay, Jose Rodel Clapano

Karen Ang

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