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By Kristine L. Alave / Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 00:11:00 05/11/2010

MANILA, Philippines -- The Filipino nation will know the next President, vice president and the 12 new senators of the republic by Tuesday, according to the Smartmatic TIM, the technology partner of the Commission on Elections in the country's first ever automated elections.

Cesar Flores, spokesman of the Smartmatic TIM, projected on Monday night that 80 percent of the results would be in by Tuesday and that would show a clearer picture of the winners in the presidential, vice presidential and senatorial races.

"When you wake up tomorrow (Tuesday) about 80 percent of the results are transmitted. You will have a very clear trend on who will be the next president, vice president, and senators," he said in a joint press conference with the Commission on Elections.

Happy with the national conduct of the automated elections, Comelec Chairman Jose Melo, said "This seems to be the victory of the Filipino people with God's help."

The first automated elections have been marked by malfunctioning vote scanning and counting machines, rejected ballots and voters who backed out of voting, turned off by the long lines and the slow wait for their turn to vote, as only one board of election inspectors was tasked to take care of three to five precincts clustered into one.

But Melo said these cases did not lead to massive failure of elections. 'I'm smiling again. It was successful. I will add the 'very part' later,' the poll chief said.

Melo placed the machine malfunction at only .05 percent of all the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines were replaced due to various technical glitches.

The number was less than the expected 2.5%-5% replacement rate the company prepared in its contingency plan.

Cesar Flores, Smartmatic TIM spokesman, said 10,000 precincts reported to have finished the voting and had printed 30 election returns as of 7 pm. The number, he said, was better than expected.

As to the snaking lines in the precincts, Melo admitted that the poll body would have to study the queue management in the future.