June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Preps for 2025 elections scrutinized

THE House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms chaired by Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog Jr. convened on Tuesday to discuss the preparations of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for the 2025 midterm elections. 

Dalog reported receiving a letter from COMELEC Chairman George Erwin Garcia stating that the scheduled end-to-end demonstration of Miru Systems Co. Ltd would have to be cancelled because the supplier was not present at the hearing.

Miru Systems was the lone bidder and will supply the automated counting machines for next year’s elections.

According to the letter, the COMELEC decided to customize the Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (FASTrAC) to apply valid recommendations regarding the system, based on feedback and comments received from election stakeholders after the first end-to-end demonstration of the system.  

Rizal Rep. Emigdio Tanjuatco III, who also attended the previous demonstration, proposed back then that the vote counting devices be brought to the House for the benefit of other House members to observe and comment on the automated machines’ functionality. 

He also voiced concerns about the election stakeholders’ comments and feedbacks on the new poll supplier’s vote counting machines.

“It becomes more bothersome and worrisome that even in the letter of Chairman George Garcia to our Honorable Chair, that there was an admission that there had been various feedback and comments received by this commission from election stakeholders after the end-to-end demonstration. It just goes to show that may problema or may mga issues na kailangan i-addresss ng Miru o ng COMELEC diyan sa mga counting machines,” he lamented. 

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez supported Tanjuatco’s remarks, stating that the COMELEC and Miru Systems should provide assurance that the results of the 2025 elections will reflect the people’s will.

He also urged the panel to direct the embassies of Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kyrgyzstan and Argentina to comment on Miru’s equipment difficulties when they used it to conduct their own elections. 

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo clarified that what was previously exhibited in the end-to-end demonstration was merely the base system specified in the Comelec’s Terms of Reference (TOR) during the bidding process. 

He also stressed that the machines would still have to go through a customization procedure, which would begin 15 days after the notification to proceed, and that the process will take five months to complete.