Comelec finally opens PCOS source code for review

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2013 05:53 PM | Updated as of May 07 2013 05:56 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Amid mounting criticisms and questions about the credibility of the upcoming elections, Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes today announced that the source code of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines will be available for review by political parties and interested groups within the week.

Brillantes says both Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic have signed an agreement that led to the availability of the source code for review.

He says both companies signed the agreement last Friday and he has already signed his conforme.

The poll chief says the PCOS source code will be presented to the public in a press conference on Wednesday.

It will also be placed in an escrow account at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in compliance with the requirements of Republic Act 9369, or the Automated Elections Law.

In April, Dominion wrote to inform Comelec that they are terminating the negotiations. The firm, which owns the PCOS technology, disclosed they are still willing to talk, however.

Brillantes says that after the agreement was signed, 3rd party certifier SLI Global Solutions was called in and arrived last night.

SLI has the source code and has refused to release it because of a non-disclosure agreement with Dominion.

SLI was handpicked by Comelec to review the source code and to certify its fitness for use in compliance with the election laws.

Brillantes says Dominion representatives are expected to come soon.

"Dominion is coming in. They have agreed they will open the source code,” he said.

He noted election stakeholders have been invited.

Brillantes took the opportunity to get back at his critics.

"Pwede ba tumahimik na ang mga nagsasabi na walang source code. Darating na within week," he said.

Still, he sees the review will be finished already after the elections. He says the review will take time.

"Once the source code is here, wala nang credibility issue, wala nang maingay…The only reason why I have been quiet, I have been continuously negotiating for the source code,” he said.

He says the criticisms have affected the negotiations.

“Tawa lang siya nang tawa, wala siya ginagawa kundi mambatikos. Ako, hirap na hirap,” he says of former Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman.

Brillantes also reiterated plans to show the 2010 source code to the public.

Poll watchdog Kontra Daya, meanwhile, expressed doubts on the impact of the source code's late release.

"A review just days before the elections is not possible," said the group's information technology expert Rick Bahague.

"The review should have been done upon the acquisition of the technology for the AES. Dapat nung simula pa lang," he added.

"Other media reports are saying that the review will take place after the elections. So huli na talaga ang lahat," he claimed. "This development does not erase questions regarding the credibility of the polls. Deceptive na pampalubag-loob lang ito."