Duterte: Let COMELEC explain faulty voting machines

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 13) — President Rodrigo Duterte said he will let the Commission on Elections address faulty vote counting machines (VCMs) across polling precincts, adding he will not intervene just yet.

Election day was marred by multiple reports of malfunctioning VCMs nationwide, including the one initially assigned to former Vice President Jejomar Binay's precinct which had him storming to the COMELEC canvassing headquarters in Pasay City after his ballots were initially rejected.

But Duterte said this does not merit intervention from Malacañang just yet.

"That will be early. COMELEC is an independent body. If there's any malfunction there or if there's any aberration at all in the prodecure and process of the conduct of the elections, let COMELEC explain first to the people before we even initiate a sort of investigation," Duterte told reporters after casting his vote in Davao City.

"That is in recognizance of separation of powers," he added.

Duterte went to the Daniel Aguinaldo High School in Barangay Matina about two hours before polls closed on Monday. He was accompanied by his partner Honeylet Avancena. The 74-year-old president did not vote during the May 2018 barangay elections.

It was in this school where he voted during the May 2016 elections that saw him rise as the new president. The chair he sat on has since been encased and put on display inside the campus. After he finished voting, Duterte went to sit on this iconic chair and signed its desk.

Asked about his assessment of the conduct of the elections, Duterte said there hasn't been any major hitches so far.

"I have yet to receive something that is more than just the ordinary vote-buying and violence here, violence there, but nothing of a big one that could probably disturb the conduct of the elections throughout the nation," the President added.

READ: Defective vote-counting machines mar midterm polls

COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez said that the poll body has about 10,000 backup VCMs to be deployed as replacement for units with technical problems.

Polls closed at 6 p.m.