The Comelec owes the nation its answer to a very serious question

5

“Why spend billions of pesos on PCOS, which only cuts down the election process by half a day, but removes the transparency in the counting process?”

A more transparent, fraud-free system is available that will make our elections more transparent and verifiable (which is not possible with the expensive PCOS machines and the Smartmatic system) and shortens the canvassing to just a few days from the six weeks in past elections.

This is the vastly inexpensive election system, the TCrES, proposed by former Comelec commissioner Gus Lagman’s TransparentElections.org.ph, in cooperation with Namfrel.

We believe it is the best among the systems presented last month by different vendors at the Technology Fair organized by the DOST-Information and Communications Technology Office’s for the government’s Comelec Advisory Council (CAC).


The TCrES process as described by Mr. Lagman goes this way:

1. Voting is the same as in the past manual voting method. For simplicity and efficiency the pre-printed ballots could be re-designed, but that’s not absolutely necessary.

2. Precinct counting will be the same as in the past manual counting (“taras”), but an improved design of the Tally Sheet forms and Election Returns will be used. This will make counting more accurate and less cumbersome.

3. The results are encoded, verified and the precinct results will be electronically transmitted to the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) and the Central Verification Server (CVS).

4. Then will follow the automated consolidation and canvassing of votes at the municipal, provincial, and national levels

Mr. Lagman says “An interesting additional step to the above is the simultaneous precinct-counting—a sort of electronic “taras”—using a tablet (an iPad, or equivalent), projecting this to a big screen so more people can see what’s going on (therefore, MORE transparent), then printing the tablet’s version of the Election Returns (ER). After verifying that this version of the ER matches with the manual one, the tablet can then electronically transmit it to the MBOC and CVS. No need to encode the ER, since it is already in digital format.”

Some may fear that the added transparency made by the use of iPads and the like would nullify the “secret ballot” principle of democratic elections.

Mr. Lagman answers this concern. “The information in the ballot will not be reflected in the tablet at all. As in past manual elections, the voter would simply drop his ballot into the ballot box. The electronic ‘taras’ will be done simultaneously with the manual precinct counting—after the voting closes. As the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) reads the votes aloud, they are marked (“taras”) in the “manual” Tally Sheet and Election Returns (as in the past); the person handling the tablet will likewise “mark” the electronic “taras” in the tablet, which process would be projected to a big screen. The electronic step would therefore be only a duplication of the manual step; however, transparency is enhanced because of the big screen. Plus, at the end of the counting, the results would already be captured in digital format—ready for verification and then, transmission.”

Mr. Lagman stresses: “The manual precinct counting will only take 5-12 hours, as in the past. A few precincts which might encounter problems, could take a bit longer. On the other hand, the Consolidation and Canvassing phase, which will now be automated, will be cut down from as long as six weeks, to just a few days. No more dagdag-bawas.”

Mr. Lagman asks the BIG QUESTION we started this editorial with.

“Why spend billions of pesos on PCOS, which only cuts down the election process by half a day, but removes the transparency in the counting process?”

In Mr. Lagman’s proposed TCrES system it is the automation of the canvassing that shortens the process from six weeks down to just a few days.

We think Mr. Brillantes and the Comelec MUST answer that question. They owe the people an answer.

And, we earnestly pray that they buy Mr. Lagman’s TCrES system.

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5 Comments

  1. The philippines likes to waste tax payers money. They like to show the world look how advanced our country is, we use these electronic counting machines. Whilst you have idiots running your country this will always happen.

    • Mr. Lagman suggestion is fine,Provided PPCRV/Namfrel will get a copy of the tally sheets. In case of questions
      the tally sheets should be one of the basis in comparison to local canvass l/Ipad and Pecos machine. Since the tally sheets is the initial counting process during election. In my experience as PPCRV/Namfrel Parish coordinator nobody came to us for any comparison. NOBODY approached us to check our results against local canvass. PPCRV/Namfrel should mAke this an important step
      during local canvass.R

  2. no way the kkk/yellow admin will buy mr. lagman’s proposal. paano mananalo ang manok ni aquino at ng Lapiang Pabaya (palpak, which one you prefer) kung walang pcos. marami ng proof sa 60=30-10 system ng pcos pero walang aksyon.

  3. jesus nazario on

    How much naman will this TCrES solution be ? With it, we will have to revert to the old sizing of the precincts used in the past (200 voters per precinct) rather than the clustered ones with 1,000 voters per precinct. With a national average fill-rate of say 75%, each precinct will have 150 voters (75% x 200). With say 55 million voters expected by 2016, that will translate to some 367,000 precincts nationwide. With TCrES, this translates to the same number (367,000) of iPAD that will be needed. How much does a bare-bones iPAD cost ? This will be equiv to 367,000,000 pesos per 1,000. It will come out, at 2,000 per iPAD, to PHP 734,000,000…PHP 1,101,000,000 at 3,000 per iPAD and so on. Now, how about data security given the proliferation of androids and so on.? Who will encode, the ERs at the precinct level ? It cannot be other than the Chairman of the BEI or any one of the BEI members. Will the basic complement of a three-man BEI team per precinct suffice with the new process ? Now how about the LCD (LED ?) projectors ? We will need another set of 367,000 projectors. This is more expensive than an iPAD. Say at PHP 20,000 per unit (the cheapest good ones cost this much), that will be another PHP 7,340,000,000. Who will man the projectors in the precincts ? The BEI members also ? Then comes the municipal, provincial and central servers. Maybe we can reuse the ones used in 2010 and 2013 – that is IF Smartmatic will allow it. So TCrES is not really that cheap. Logistics-wise, we are deploying two additional components per precinct (and to about 5 times more precincts) compared to the PCOS. That will be some 734,000 items (iPAD and projector) in total. But definitely it can be better and of course infinitely more transparent than the present PCOS. BTW, The number of BEIs will also increase by maybe 3 to 4 times more. But I will still vote for any solution OTHER THAN the despicable-to-the-max Smartmatic PCOS again !

  4. Ruben V. Calip on

    The civil society organizations should do three things that are vital to the rescue of our Republic and democratic institutions, including the integrity of our elections–(1) take strong action to get rid of Smartmatic and its PCOS machines untransparent, illegal and fraud-prone unverifiable AES (automated election system) and (2) support the Transformation Council formed in Lipa, Batangas, yesterday. Getting rid of the pork barrel is also important but in a way it is a distraction from WHAT SHOULD BE DONE.
    What’s the use of removing the pork barrel first but having presidents, senators and congressmen, governors and mayors who do not truly represent the votes of the people?
    (3) If People Power action is what will make the Comelec junk the horribly expensive PCOS machines and Smartmatic, then let’s aim for People Power.
    Is there anything more vital to our democracy than honest verifiable elections?