Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Wednesday brushed aside the complaint of the Automated Elections System (AES) Watch and Kontra Daya to the Office of the Ombudsman over the use of “flawed” precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in the May elections.
Despite their immunity from criminal proceedings, Brillantes and Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph were charged before the Ombudsman.
“They just wanted attention because they have been forgotten after the elections,” Brillantes said.
The AES Watch said the three poll officials should be investigated for their “abysmal failure to protect the sanctity of the ballot.”
Through complainants Fr. Joe Dizon, Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, and Sr. Mary John Mananzan, the group asked the Ombudsman to investigate the officials for serious misconduct, which may be a ground for the filing of an impeachment complaint.
“The proceedings may later on turn into a criminal investigation, once the Comelec officers retire, resign or are removed from office,” they said.
AES Watch and Kontra Daya said the advisory council of the Comelec recommended against the re-use of the PCOS machines for the mid-term elections. But Brillantes and his two commissioners rejected the recommendation, and in March 2012 the Comelec issued three resolutions approving the purchase of the machines.
Brillantes said they will answer the complaint if the Ombudsman requires them.
AES Watch also asked President Benigno Aquino 3rd to compel Smartmatic, the ballot counting machines supplier, to refund the money paid by the Comelec, citing the failure of thousands of PCOS machines to transmit election results, dysfunctional compact flash (CF) cards and other glitches.
The amount paid by the government in March 2012 for at least 23 percent of the machines that failed should be returned, it added.
The refund should be on top of the costs of the machines that bogged down, faulty CF cards and modems and other system failures.
JOHANNA M. SAMPAN