Comelec orders recall of faulty memory cards in PCOS machines

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2010 11:32 AM | Updated as of May 05 2010 02:08 AM

The flashcard inserted in Precinct Count Optical Scans. It will store and record the whole process of voting and ballot feeding.

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday recalled defective memory cards inserted in Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) voting machines that will be used for the country's first ever nationwide automated elections on May 10.

In an interview on [email protected] on Tuesday, Mike Dioneda, Comelec-National Capital Region chief, said a total of 7,555 memory cards or flashcards have been ordered recalled by the poll body's central office.

Dioneda said Smartmatic-TIM was able to trace the problems encountered by the PCOS machines during Monday's testing to wrong programming of the flashcards.

"Because of what happened yesterday, we will be pulling out all the flashcards from the PCOS machines and they will be replaced," he said. "They conducted an investigation yesterday and the solution is to get all the flashcards and replace them."

Rear Admiral Feliciano Angge, commander of the Armed Forces' National Capital Region Command, said they are recalling at least 3,000 PCOS machines already deployed to several polling precincts in Metro Manila, according to a report by radio dzMM.

Angge said that based on the Comelec's directive, the voting machines' memory cards will be reconfigured by the Smartmatic-TIM.

Angge confirmed that the recall order was in connection with the reported problems manifested by the PCOS machines in several areas in Metro Manila, particularly in the cities of Pasay, Parañaque, Makati and Las Piñas.

Reports said the PCOS machines only read votes cast for candidates in the national level, but votes for the local candidates were not counted by the PCOS machines.

There were also reports of similar failures in Mindoro and Batangas provinces.

Angge, meanwhile, said it was not clear if the recall order was nationwide.

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN News gathered that the Comelec has also stopped the delivery of PCOS machines to Abra province.

Reports said the directive also had something to do with the PCOS machines' failure to read votes cast for local candidates during Monday's testing.

Several groups and candidates have expressed fear over the new problem encountered by the PCOS machines.

Liberal Party vice-presidential candidate Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas said that if the Comelec and the Smartmatic-TIM fail to fix the problem, the results of the automated elections will be massively contested, resulting to chaos.

"I don't want to be alarmist, pero gulo ito. And so I hope the Comelec will take this seriously," Roxas said.

Sister Mary John Mananzan, co-chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda that the new problem highlights the need for the Comelec to reconsider its decision junking their proposal to also hold manual parallel count on May 10. – with reports from Jeffrey Hernaez, radio dzMM and Abner Mercado, ABS-CBN News