Cheaper alternative to PCOS proposed

A BETTER POLL SYSTEM IT system expert Nelson Celis stresses his point during the roundtable discussion at The Manila Times office on Thursday. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

A BETTER POLL SYSTEM IT system expert Nelson Celis stresses his point during the roundtable discussion at The Manila Times office on Thursday. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

A group opposed to the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in the 2016 presidential elections is proposing what it claims is a more efficient and less expensive electoral method.

Nelson Celis, the spokesman for the Automated Election System (AES), said their alternative system involves the use of tablets, ipads and laptops in encoding results from votes cast manually.

Speaking at a forum at The Manila Times office on Thursday, Celis claimed that the government spends P21,274,218,632 for warehousing fees, maintenance, logistics, project management, training and ballots for the 80,000 PCOS machines left over from previous elections. The AES system will cost not more P2 million, he said.

In the group’s proposal, the voting and tabulation will be done manually, but the results will be encoded into mobile devices and laptops.

The encoded votes will be transmitted for canvassing. The Board of Election Canvassers (BEC) in the municipal or city level will transmit the votes for provincial canvassing.

The same process will apply to the national board of canvassers.

Augusto “Gus” Lagman, a former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner, said the process that AES is proposing “is a bit different from the proposal from a year or two years ago. What we [were]proposing in the past is that we should have manual counting and then the results should be encoded in the laptop and then the laptop will transmit the results to the first step in canvassing, but today we are proposing a different set-up because of the gain in popularity of tablets, ipads [and]laptops.”

Lagman, the lead convenor of Transaparent Elections, also spoke at The Times forum.
Celis said the Comelec is not yet ready to implement automated elections as provided for in Republic Act 9369.

He added that Smartmatic, the firm that owns the PCOS machines, had violated the Terms of References (TOR) provided by the Comelec.

“What we can do is implement manual [elections]and electronic transmissions [of votes]. That’s the only thing that we can do,” Celes said.

He added that a combination of “manual and electronic transmissions” is the best system for 2016.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. has rejected appeals to do away with the PCOS machines in 2016.

He said the Comelec had issued a resolution adopting recommendations of the Comelec Advisory Council to use the PCOS machines.

Brillantes said the Comelec does not have the budget for replacing the PCOS machines.


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  1. Any cheap, good, fair and accurate vote counting will always be welcomed but the problem is, will Sixto Brillantes who is and will always be partial to the Smarmatic’s Hocus-Pocus machines will accept this idea even if it is much more cheaper and sensible for our type of elections. Ones guess is as good as mine.

  2. Sa aking paniwala kaya ayaw ni Datu Puti ang mas mura at walang dayang systema ng election ay tulad nga marami sa government deals kung walang “perth- lagay ay di pwede, na dapat ay pwede na “. Yuon iba pang suppliers ay binibigyan pa ng all expense free round trip tickets para bisitahin ang kanilang factory abroad sa mga decision maker pati na ang kanilang familia kasama na pati yaya at may side trip sa Las Vegas at pocket money pang sugal at mayroon pang Ba—e pa.
    Ako ay naniwala na isa dito o lahat nabigay kaya di na makaatras na sila Datu Puti at mga COMELEC OFFICALS gamiting ang HUKOS-PCOS MACHINES.

  3. Dapat naman talaga manual vote and tabulation at the precinct level then electronic transmission na.

  4. It is of public knowledge that our country has suffered a lot of electoral cheating s. There is no safer way to check or minimize this propensity of our candidates no matter how inefficiency, but approximating the true sentiment of the people except by the people themselves. A system of voting understood by an ordinary voter should be adopted and crafted and not being monopolized by the few savvies who can cheat and fool the people. Let us not make the PICOS a great incentive or inducement to run for an election.

  5. We have to replace the old manual way of voting with my new concept of “FAST” manual way of voting I presented to COMELEC during AES forum last July 27 at the SMX Convention Center. It is faster way of voting because the voter doesn’t need to write the candidate’s name but just punch the assigned number of the candidate. The counting of votes will be faster because it do away counting “kahon” for every group of fives. Once you place the punched ballots against the tally board, it will automatically shows the voted candidates and can count the votes (total) automatically also. I cannot understand if the COMELEC will still use the old method.My method is the most least expensive because it is simple and does not use electricity.

  6. If Brillantes is the only hindrance for an inexpensive and more effective voting system, then by all means, do away with Brillantes.