2013 polls problematic but on track: Brillantes

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2012 05:06 PM | Updated as of Dec 04 2012 06:50 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes admitted Monday that the preparations for next year's mid-term elections are problematic but are still on track.

Brillantes said the poll body is now rushing its decisions on the party-list group accreditations so they can focus on the preparations.

He said that by this month, the poll body should be focusing on the configuration of the ballots and precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines by preparing the final lists of voters, candidates and clustered precincts.

The poll body is also waiting for the certification of the enhancements they made on the software of  the PCOS machines.

Brillantes said the ballots are very specific. down to the number of voters per precint.

Comelec has finished the bidding for almost all the requirements for the 2013 elections.

Brillantes said a 2nd printing machine for the ballots has arrived.

"We awarded the shading pen, toner battery, [compact flash] card still pending negotiating  with Smartmatic about to agree. We might be able to finish already first award were giving Smartmatic which is proprietary (for cf cards)," he said.

The poll body is also considering the application for citizens' arm of the group 1-Vote.

It already granted the accreditation of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting while it is poised to grant the accreditation of the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL).

Brillantes refuted claims that the contract for ballot packaging is overpriced. He pointed to reports that the contract for ballot packaging rose to P292 million for 2013 from just P175 million in 2010.

He confirmed the increase, which he attributed to the inclusion of warehousing and transporting the packaged ballots after they have been vacuum-packed.

Brillantes clarified that the packaging remained at 2010 unit prices.