Malfunctioning precinct count optical scanners (PCOS) yesterday compounded the usual concerns of missing voter names, ballot switching, vote buying and violent incidents on election day. Officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), however, agreed that the conduct of elections in the Visayas yesterday was generally peaceful. In Western Visayas, PCOS machines in some precincts in at least 10 areas in Negros Occidental malfunctioned and delayed the voting process, said provincial elections supervisor Wil Arceño. In precincts where the machines were inoperable, the Board of Election Inspectors kept the ballots in a secured envelope to be counted by another machine. Affected were the towns of Pulupandan, Manapla, Ilog, Isabela, and La Castellana as well as the cities of Kabankalan, Cadiz, Silay, Bago and Bacolod. The machines either had defective memory cards or LCD (liquid crystal display) screens. Some did not accept the ballots and others overheated, said Mr. Arceño.
PCOS machines that malfunctioned also marred the first two hours of voting in Iloilo.
In Leyte, 19 units malfunctioned, said Comelec Provincial Director Richard Japzon, while four machines were defective in Samar, said Comelec Regional Director G. Veronico Petalcorin.
“The problem is only minimal and we were able to immediately replace those machines,” Mr. Petalcorin said.
A total of 5,135 PCOS machines were sent to 4,390 barangays of Eastern Visayas.
In Central Visayas, Comelec Regional Director Temie Lambino said technicians immediately resolved technical glitches on the voting machines.
“There are no problems in the voting procedure reported by the board of election inspectors,” he said in a press conference.
The rest of the 5,700 PCOS units for the whole Central Visayas region and 3,100 for the province of Cebu were working as of 4 p.m. yesterday.
“No polling center has stopped operations in Region 7,” Mr. Lambino said. Central Visayas includes the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
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