THE inventors of the newly-introduced Transparent Election System (Tapat) could have given the Smartmatic Corp.’s Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine a run for their money had the former came out earlier to demonstrate the capability of the new system.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Tuesday agreed that TAPAT was better than the Precinct Automated Tallying System (Patas), a hybrid system introduced by former Commissioner Gus Lagman.
Sharing the Comelec officials observations was Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who said more than speed and accuracy, “transparency and honesty are the most important factors to be considered in the voting process.”
“We realize we are not stuck [with]Smartmatic alone as if it’s the only way,” Pabillo said. The bishop, along with Bautista and Guanzon, cast his vote during the mock elections held at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila on Monday.
“If we create laws tailor-fitted only for them, eventually in the long run the rules will accommodate only them and neglect the other groups,” the prelate added.
Pabillo is among the bishops opposed to the use of old PCOS machines in next year’s polls because of unresolved issues in the past elections.
But Bautista said even if he wanted to consider Patas as an option, time is no longer on the Comelec’s side because of the proximity of the May 2016 polls.
“To be honest, I think that Tapat is better than Patas. It has promising features, similar features with that of the PCOS. It can come up with a receipt which the PCOS can do as well. I like also the feature where it takes the picture of the ballot and also the ballot was shorter,” the poll chief added.
“How I wish it was demonstrated earlier so that we can look into it and see where it can be considered for the May 2016 elections,” Bautista said. “But also we have to be realistic that given our time constraints, we cannot really experiment at this point, we need to use technology that had been tried and tested.”
Bautista encouraged Filipino inventors to help come out a system for transparent and credible elections.
Guanzon said she was satisfied with the performance of the Patas machine.
“Really, I was impressed. I experienced that Tapat is much better than Tapas.”
But Guanzon echoed Bautista’s sentiments that the Comelec is running out of time in its preparations for next year’s electoral exercise.
“Certainly that is one invention that’s really worth a try in the future,” she said.
Poll watchdog group AES (Automated Election System) Watch also said Tapat is better than PCOS machines in terms of interface. It said the canvassing of results was faster and the production and maintenance of the machines is cheaper.