IT experts to Comelec: Revert to manual elections

By Anthony Taberna, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 05 2010 12:19 AM | Updated as of May 05 2010 08:19 AM

MANILA, PhiIippines - Information technology (IT) experts are urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to shelve the automated counting and revert to full manual counting in the May 10 elections.

This after the Comelec reported several kinks in the testing of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in many parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Former Comelec IT director Ernie Del Rosario told ABS-CBN News it has come to a disaster situation, and the commission must make a drastic move now before it's too late.

"This is a disaster situation already. Panic na, but we cannot postpone the elections. Lalong magulo," Del Rosario said, adding that the remaining 5 days are not enough to arrest an imminent catastrophe.

Del Rosario also said manual counting is "the only way to save the nation and save the elections."

Had the PCOS machines been tested earlier, the programming error would not have happened, added del Rosario.

"Dapat tinest yan exhaustively sa warehouse pa noong kino-configure yan a long time ago. Dapat tinest individually bago bayaran," he said.

Ike Señeres, chairman of the Makati ICT Council, echoed the call of del Rosario.

Señeres, who once served as chairman of the Comelec modernization committee, challenged the commission to get out of its denial mode and move fast to prepare for manual counting.

"Parallel counting is not an option because automated counting is now corrupted. Comelec should now declare the primacy of manual count over automated count. This should be done ASAP [as soon as possible] to prevent chaos or rebellion," Señeres added.

Del Rosario and Señeres claimed they had predicted the failure of automation as early as last year when the Comelec decided to award the contract to an "unqualified" Smartmatic.

Del Rosario said he resigned as the chairman of the Technical Working Group (TWG) in August 2009 because he couldn't stomach the manner by which the commission was handling the automation project.