MANILA Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo on Friday rejected the use of the discredited precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in the 2016 presidential elections saying he prefers to have a fully transparent manual counting of votes.
“What’s important is transparency, not quickness [in the counting of votes]. Let’s see to it that they will not steal the people’s will,” Pabillo said during yesterday’s launching of “Huwag Kang Magnakaw” campaign, the Church’s non-partisan advocacy for an honest, truthful and authentic election and leadership in government anchored on God’s Seventh Commandment.
According to Pabillo, the PCOS machines have created a lot of problems in the 2010 and 2013 elections, which resulted to questionable election results.
“As of now, a manual election is one of the options that is more transparent than the PCOS machines. We have seen the problems created during the 2010 and 2013 elections when the Commission on Elections removed the PCOS safeguards,” he added.
He stressed, however, that the Church is open to other reliable options that would ensure that the peoples’ votes would be properly counted.
Pabillo called on the Filipino voters not to sell their votes, saying that selling one’s vote is tantamount to selling one’s dignity and selling the fate of the nation.
The prelate said the “hocus PCOS” is against the seventh commandment, which states: “Thou shall not steal.”
“It is a sin against the commandment because you steal what does not belong to you. Your integrity is not yours, it is given by God,” he said.
To those who sell their votes, he said they are allowing themselves to be an instrument of evil by helping the politicians commit graft and corruption because they would take back the money they use in vote buying once they get elected.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said that the poll body would hear the wisdom of all stakeholders, including the executive and legislative branches of the government, on the options being considered for the 2016 elections.
“I have talked to the 40 regional directors of the Comelec and all of them favored a fully automated system of elections,” Bautista told The Manila Times.
The Comelec is considering two options – either to bid out the diagnostic, repair and refurbishment of the 82,000 PCOS machines and buy an additional 20,000 units, or bid out the purchase of 100,000 units of brand new counting machines.
But Bautista said that even as they have their eyes focused on the two options, they are not closing the door to other possibilities.