Comelec in a bind over PCOS machines for ARMM

by Niña Corpuz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2011 05:42 PM | Updated as of May 25 2011 01:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines - As the Senate continues to deliberate on whether or not to postpone the August 8 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is already running out of time.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they are put in an “awkward” situation on whether or not to buy P900 million worth Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines for such purpose.

“We can buy the machines and then days later they will postpone it, there's no guarantee that we will be using the machines. Sana hanggang maaari, bago pumasok ang Hunyo, ma-settle na ang isyung ito,” he said.

The Comelec is trying to delay the procurement as long as they can.

"At some point, kailangang i-commit na bibilhin yung makina, papasok na ang Hunyo at wala tayong magagawa kung di matutuloy, may makinang hindi magagamit," said Jimenez.

He said they have spent about P10 million so far in preparation for the ARMM elections. This was used for the certification of the machines.

"You have to certify it before you buy it, the law requires everything you buy must have a certificate," he said.

Jimenez said running the ARMM elections will cost the poll body half a billion pesos, on top of the procurement of the P900 million worth of PCOS machines.