Source code row may lead to manual polls?

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2013 05:39 PM | Updated as of Feb 12 2013 01:39 AM

MANILA - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes is now worried they may have to resort to manual elections should the legal row between Smartmatic and Dominion prevent a review of the source codes of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.

Brillantes noted that based on the Automated Election Law, the source code must be opened to review 90 days before the elections, which will fall on Wednesday, February 13.

Dominion owns the software used to run the PCOS machines. Smartmatic sued Dominion in a Delaware, USA court over a collection case.

Brillantes expects SLI or Systest Labs., Inc to submit its certification tomorrow, February 12. However, because of the case, SLI may not submit the source code after certification.

He said only the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) can exempt them from the requirement of the law, but he noted that its members may already be busy campaigning. He noted that all congressmen and some senators in the committee are running in the election.

He said, however, said that even without the committee’s concurrence, they can proceed with the automated election so long as no one stops them with a case before the courts.

“Nandyan na ang source code, hawak na ng SLI, but it might not release it without the consent of dominion.”

Brillantes said the “binaries” are also already available and have been certified as early as 2011. The source code is the human-readable instructions to the PCOS machine, while the binary is the machine-readable counterpart.

“We just have to convince JCOC,” he said. Otherwise, Comelec will go back to manual elections.

He said going back the old route has always been their contingency. He said the ballots for the PCOS machines can still be used as ballots in a manual election.

Brillantes expects the technical evaluation committee and the Comelec advisory council to help them convince the JCOC.

He expects only the usual critics to speak up against this problem.