Juan Andres Bautista, Chair of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and an official of Smartmatic, contractor of the vote counting machine (VCM), guaranteed the Filipinos that there are no VCMs in Novotel.
Bautista and Elie Moreno, Smartmatic Philippines General Manager, stood their ground that the machines are not placed in said hotel after personally going there and verifying if the allegations are correct.
“Sa 5th floor, kasama natin ang mga katawan ng PDP-Laban (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, ng Liberal Party, ng PPCRV, ng Kontra-Daya at ilang miyembro media, wala naman kaming nakitang mga VCM sa mga kwarto. Hindi lang mga kwarto ng Smartmatic pati rin 'yung mga katabing kwarto na vacant,” Bautista said to the reporters.
Smartmatic’s Moreno justified why Smartmatic technicians are in the hotel.
“Our technicians are in hotel. They are actually part of the third level of the national support center. We are staying in the hotel because it is close by to national support center. But there are no VCMs here or anything regarding the machines here,” Moreno cleared.
A member of the legal team of PDP-Laban, Atty. Charlie Ho, said that the COMELEC should continue to investigate the report.
Novotel is located in Araneta Center in Cubao. Aranate Center is owned by the family of the administration bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
Roxas camp said that it is impossible for the machines to be placed in Novotel as they have been fully accounted for and checked by the poll body and dismissed the allegation.
“The basis of the statement of Henrietta de Villa (watchdog) of the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) is mere rumor, completely bereft of basis and substance. We also question the timing of this statement, releasing it exactly on Election Day and not earlier,” Mar Roxas spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez added: "We expect [PPCRV chairman] Ms. De Villa to give the precinct numbers of the alleged VCMs. Should she fail to do so, we expect Ms. De Villa to issue an apology and attestation of the truth with the same enthusiasm and alacrity she displayed in repeating this rumor."
An estimate of 54 million voters are expected to vote today, May 9.