Leni Robredo alarmed over voting glitches as ballot counting machines malfunction

·5-min read
CORRECTS PLACE - Presidential candidate and incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo shows the ink on her finger to mark that she has finished voting at a school used as a polling center in Camarines Sur, eastern Philippines on Monday, May 9, 2022. Filipinos were voting for a new president Monday, with the son of an ousted dictator and a champion of reforms and human rights as top contenders in a tenuous moment in a deeply divided Asian democracy. (AP Photo/Zalrian Sayat)
Vice President Leni Robredo showed the ink on her finger to mark that she has finished voting at a school used as a polling center in Camarines Sur, eastern Philippines on May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Zalrian Sayat)

(Bloomberg) —Philippine presidential hopeful Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has cast his vote in an election that could see him take the highest seat of power more than three decades after his dictator father was ousted.

His main rival and the sole female candidate, Vice President Leni Robredo, voted in her home province. She said there was concern over reports of election-linked violence and malfunctioning vote-counting machines.

Marcos Jr. has led opinion surveys by double-digits ahead of election day, helped by a barrage of online propaganda painting the tough martial law years under the older Marcos as a golden era. .

Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa said in a Bloomberg Television interview that his victory will show the continued potency of misinformation campaigns that could have implications in the U.S. and Brazilian elections this year

Robredo Airs Concern Over Voting Issues (11:50 a.m.)

Robredo called on the election commission to show that it’s on top of the situation, adding that vote integrity is at stake. She was concerned over reports of election-related violence and malfunction ballot-counting machines.

She voted in Camarines Sur province south of Manila after falling in line for more than an hour.

MAGARAO, PHILIPPINES - MAY 09: Filipinos cast their votes at a school converted into a polling precinct on May 9, 2022 in Magarao, Camarines Sur province, Philippines. More than 67 million people are expected to head to the polls to elect the country's new set of leaders. The son and namesake of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who was accused and charged of amassing billions of dollars of ill-gotten wealth as well as committing tens of thousands of human rights abuses during his autocratic rule, has mounted a hugely popular campaign to return his family name to power. Ferdinand
Filipinos cast their votes at a school converted into a polling precinct on May 9, 2022 in Magarao, Camarines Sur province, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Marcos Jr.’s Running Mate Votes; Ballot Counting Machines Malfunction (10:30 a.m.)

Vice-presidential candidate and President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte cast her ballot in the southern city of Davao. She said in a televised interview after voting that she will prioritize protecting children and visiting schools if she wins the vice-presidency. She also said she and Marcos Jr. never sought her father’s endorsement, after he didn’t name a presidential pick throughout the campaign.

There were several reports of vote-count machines that were malfunctioning, with some unable to accept ballots or print receipts. The election commission will replace these machines, said information department head James Jimenez, which could lead to further delays.

Nobel Laureate Ressa Says Marcos Win Will Spur More Disinformation (9:27 a.m.)

Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa warned that a win for Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the Philippine presidential poll will show the continued potency of misinformation campaigns that could have implications in the U.S. and Brazilian elections this year.

“This is a global information ecosystem. Like in 2016, we were the first domino to fall followed by Brexit, Trump, Bolsonaro — well here you go again. Brazil has elections in October, the U.S. has elections in November. So if we fall, stay tuned, it’s coming for you,” she said.

BATAC, PHILIPPINES - MAY 09: Presidential Candidate Ferdinand
Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. cast his vote in the 2022 election at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Elementary school on May 9, 2022 in Batac, Philippines. (Photo by Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)

Long Queues Form Outside Polling Centers, Marcos Jr. Votes (7:28 a.m.)

Voters encountered long queues outside polling precincts across the country, which could slow the election process. Strict pandemic restrictions limited the number of people allowed into the voting stations, causing crowds outside.

Marcos Jr. has cast his ballot in his home province of Ilocos Norte. He didn’t speak to reporters after casting his vote, continuing with a strategy of avoiding questions from the media. Marcos Jr. has said that he can speak directly to the people rather than engage in media panels with other presidential candidates.

Voting Started Early on Monday (6 a.m.)

Polling stations opened at 6 a.m. across the Southeast Asian country, although there are concerns of delays with malfunctioning vote counting machines and potential power outages.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said church bells would be rung at the same time for ten minutes to mark the start of the vote. Vaccination sites will also be opened near the polling centers to make it easier for citizens to get their jabs.

Voting ends at 7 p.m. and results should start coming in as soon as polling stations close. Over 60% of the population are eligible to vote for 18,000 positions, from president to town councilor.

Ruling on Marcos Jr. Disqualification Cases Set a Day After Polls

The Commission on Elections will issue its decision on four disqualification cases filed against Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. a day after the May 9 elections, the Philippine Star newspaper reported.

Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan said the commission had to wait till Tuesday as it can’t release the decision on weekends and holidays. President Rodrigo Duterte had declared Monday as a special holiday in the Philippines.

All the petitions were on Marcos Jr.’s failure to file tax returns.

Philippines ‘Relatively Peaceful’ Before Polls, Police Say

The Philippines was “relatively peaceful” ahead of the May 9 polls, Philippine National Police Spokesperson Jean Fajardo said in a briefing on Sunday. There were 16 election-related violent incidents, less than in 2016 and 2019.

On Saturday, four people were killed and several more injured following a shooting incident between supporters of rival mayoral candidates in Ilocos Sur province in the north.

A two-day liquor ban is in place across the country starting from Sunday, the police said.

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