Bishop nixes PCOS machines for ARMM polls


Posted at Mar 18 2011 01:13 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2011 01:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A Catholic bishop has joined calls opposing government's plan to reuse the controversial Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections in August.

According to a report on the CBCP website, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) not to use the machines and instead go back to the manual system.

“What we are opposing is reusing the Smartmatic PCOS machines,” he said during Thursday's rally outside the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila.

“There are lots of issues about the machines that remain unresolved until now.”

Pabillo chairs the National Secretariat of Social Action – Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

In the rally, Pabillo cited the Comelec’s alleged failure to follow the provisions of the Election Automation Law in using the PCOS system in May 2010 presidential polls.

Among them, he said, is the poll body’s continued refusal to reveal the source code as well as the removal of the digital signature of the automated election system (AES).

“These are very important details but the problem is they still don’t want it to be examined by independent bodies,” he said.

Poll watchdog group AESWatch also urged the Comelec to drop its decision to reuse the voting machines.

Bobby Tuazon, AESWatch co-convenor, said they would rather have a manual election than leave the fate of the ARMM to an “erroneous” automated polls.

“It’s better to go manual than insist on using the PCOS technology that was provided by Smartmatic Corporation,” said Tuazon.

“Given the time constraints, if indeed the elections are held in August 8, we believe that we should go manual already, precisely because the PCOS technology needs to be corrected since it has been found erroneous,” he said. Report by CBCPNews