Extended voting hours pushed amid faulty VCMs; Comelec says lined-up voters to be accommodated

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 9)— Calls to extend voting hours were raised on Monday as reports of faulty vote-counting machines (VCMs) hounded the much-awaited election day.

Netizens, groups, and even poll candidates urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to give more time for the public to cast their votes, citing that many of them continue to endure the long lines.

“There are voters enduring long lines not just due to health protocols but also due to the malfunctioning VCMs. There are also cases of precincts not opening on time," election watchdog Kontra Daya said in a statement.

Vice presidential candidate Senator Kiko Pangilinan also prodded the poll body to announce a two-hour extension in areas affected by the glitches.

Senatorial bets Neri Colmenares and Elmer Labog likewise joined the calls.

Comelec, for its part, is not discounting the possibility of accommodating more voters past 7 p.m.

“[K]apag may tao pa within the vicinity of that voting center, kailangan pabotohin,” Comelec Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan said in a briefing.

[Translation: If there are still people within the vicinity of the voting center, they must be allowed to vote.

“We can extend the voting hours up to the time that we have accommodated everyone na nasa vicinity ng (in the vicinity of the) voting center,” he added.