• Bloc wants PCOS machines dumped

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    A poll watchdog appealed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday to stop using Smartmatic’s automated election system come 2016 presidential polls.

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    Kontra Daya, which is composed of the clergy, teachers, information technology experts and activists, based its demand on the various problems encountered during the 2013 polls.

    Led by convenor Gani Tapang, the group held the protest in front of the commission’s headquarters urging them to discontinue the usage of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines because of the massive failure of the units.

    “The recently concluded polls were filled with so many problems which include the failure of some 18,000 machines to transmit results on election day, problematic CF cards, malfunctioning PCOS machines along with an error with the transparency server that bloated initial results from 1,400 precincts. We should want to know from Comelec how much it has so far paid Smartmatic and how much is Smartmatic billing us for the services it supposedly rendered during the elections,” Tapang expressed.

    “From what we saw last May, we don’t think it is right for taxpayer’s money to be paid Smartmatic given its dismal performance. Smartmatic should even be fined by Comelec and asked to return previous statements,” he furthered.

    On Tuesday, Smartmatic claimed that the recently concluded polls was successful. The company also said that they played a vital role to the success of the Philippine midterm elections because its voting machines were able to secure the transmission of data to tallying centers that resulted to reliable and legitimate results which were easily available to the public through the Internet.

    Chief Executive Officer of Smartmatic, Antonio Mugica said they are now more determined to be involved in the Philippines’ future polls.

    However, Kontra Daya slammed Smartmatic’s statement and appealed to the poll body to junk the PCOS machines.

    “Our people as well as our elected officials should be genuinely concerned that Smartmatic wants to reprise its role for the 2016 elections. Smartmatic is here to stay unless we take action and make it and Comelec accountable for the questionable conduct of the 2013 elections,” Tapang said.

    “The only just position now is the junking of Smartmatic-Comelec’s PCOS system in favor of a more transparent, reliable and trustworthy system that is not controlled by foreigners. Those responsible for undermining the polls should ultimately be made accountable,“ he added.

    However, Sixto Brillantes Jr. downplayed Kontra Daya’s claims and even reiterated that the around 80,000 PCOS machines were already owned by the government.

    “Tell us what is wrong with the PCOS, not doubts. Give us specifics on what is wrong with the PCOS. The PCOS belongs to us already. We have already paid for it,” the poll chief said.

    In March 2012, the commission en banc purchased the vote counting machines from Smartmatic for P1.8 billion.

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