MANILA - Administration senatorial candidate Grace Poe and Jamby Madrigal want the Commission on Elections to host a dialogue with candidates on their concerns following the glitches that marred the mock elections last weekend.
In separate interviews with ABS-CBN, Poe and Madrigal sympathized with the plight of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes who has been hitting back at poll body critics.
Poe said she is not 100% certain that there will be no glitches in the automated polls come Election Day due to lack of assurance from Comelec.
She said representatives of electoral candidates should be allowed to examine the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to quell any doubts about the automation process.
“Para sa akin naman po, alam ko po si Chairman Brillantes may kredibilidad. Ang problema lang po talaga yung mismong sistema ng Comelec na namana pa mula sa simula at pwede pa nating baguhin. Sana naman po magkaroon ng mas malayang pag-uusap ang Comelec at ang representante ng mga kandidato para yung aming pagaalinlangan ay maibsan,” she said.
Madrigal said the glitches should have been addressed as early as after the 2010 national elections. “I just hope together with Smartmatic and the Comelec and more IT people, mas maging transparent itong automation natin,” she said.
Both candidates expressed discomfort at the glitches that marred the mock elections last weekend.
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez told the candidates that the results of the 2010 elections should already placate their concerns.
"I ask them to remember this: a lot of politicians who wholeheartedly supported PCOS in 2010 lost. If we want to make sure PCOS is perpetuated, wouldn't it make sense those who boosted it in 2010 would be in the winners’ circle? PCOS is shown to be incredibly impartial. They should take comfort in that rather than wasting time trying to scare the public. Perhaps people would be better served by going out and reaching out to the voters to make sure they win fair and square,” he said.
Poe, whose father, Fernando Poe Jr., was allegedly cheated in the 2004 presidential election, said cheating can occur independently of the PCOS machines.
"Nasa vote-buying din. Nasa pagkakaroon ng delivery ng memory card ng PCOS machine from the precinct to whatever ica-canvass yun so maraming ibang paraan. Sana naman magkaroon ng mas bukas na pagsusuri yung mga pribadong organisasyon kasama na rin ang Comelec para matiyak nga kung saka sakali man mabawasan ng napakalaki ang ating pag-aalinlangan,” she said.
Madrigal said the poll body has to be more transparent especially on the PCOS source code and the compact flash cards.
"Unang-una, nasa batas yung transparency sa source code. Number 2, yung CF cards dapat may safeguard na iba yun sa program at sa CF cards dapat untampered. Number 3, kailangan din yung transmission ay talagang hindi magalaw tapos yung electronic signature sa bawat ER. Those were all requirements of the law,” she said.
The senatorial bet said she wants to boost the information technology expertise of the poll body. She said the Philippines has to develop its own election technology.
"I’m sure Chairman Brillantes is increasing his IT team kasi ibang-iba, yung law is very different to IT so I’m sure si Chairman Brillantes is increasing his team of IT experts to address these issues,” she said.
Brillantes was FPJ's election lawyer in 2004.