Can PH still use PCOS machines in 2016?

By Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2013 05:24 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2013 01:24 AM

MANILA - The Senate Electoral Reform Committee wants the Commission on Elections to decide whether or not the poll body can still use the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the 2016 elections.

The committee wants Comelec to further investigate and evaluate the performance of the PCOS machines after it was revealed that digital glitches were found on 11 out of 212 PCOS that were checked by the Department of Science and Technology technical evaluation committee.

Dennis Villorente of DOST said that out of the 11 machines, 7 were said to have printed digital black images or lines. He said if the lines were printed on the ballots, the votes would be altered.

The National Statistics Office also said the PCOS machines had a 99.974 accuracy in counting instead of the 99.99995 accuracy that was a condition of the terms of reference during the bidding of the PCOS.

Committee chairman Sen. Koko Pimentel said the difference between the actual accuracy of the PCOS and what was promised in the terms of reference are thousands of votes that could affect the winner and loser of an election in a close fight.

Other issues that were also raised by the election watchdog AESWatch were: absence of source code review, no authentication of received election reports, no digital signature, use of cf card instead of write once, read many storage device, lack of paper audit trail, indications of 60-30-10 scenario, and killing of two journalists who exposed alleged excess printing of ballots.

Pimentel asked the Comelec the answer the issues raised by AESWatch in writing. The group also asked the committee to grant immunity to alleged witnesses of irregularities, corruption and illegal practices by suppliers and some Comelec employees.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said he has no objection to the request but that Sen. Pimentel still has to evaluate and study the request.