PATAS and TAPAT are two alternative voting systems demonstrated at recent mock election exercises witnessed by some Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials and found to be viable alternatives to the PCOS machines. But the same officials are quick to state that the Comelec no longer has the luxury of time to experiment and consider these alternatives for use in the 2016 presidential elections.

Designers and developers of PATAS (meaning “even” and connoting an even playing field) and TAPAT (meaning “honest, loyal”) emphasize that these are two attributes of the most suitable technology for Philippine elections, reflecting transparency, credibility, and accuracy as prime considerations in the design of the voting systems.

While PATAS involves traditional balloting, technology-assisted counting of the ballots, and electronic transmission of election returns, its designers and developers emphasize that the voting system is the most transparent compared with other voting systems. An LCD projector is used during the counting of votes, with the progress of the counting displayed in full view of watchers and observers. The ballot, too, will be displayed on screen so that watchers and observers can scrutinize the same together with the members of the Board of Election Inspectors.

TAPAT, on the other hand, uses a lotto-type ballot. The voting machine will print a voter verified paper audit trail or VVPAT when the lotto-type ballot is scanned, a transparency measure required under the Election Automation Law, Republic Act No. 8436 as amended by Republic Act No. 9369.

Development of these alternative voting systems is a testament to the Filipinos’ talent in developing IT systems, a talent recognized world-wide. Filipino IT skilled workforce have long been deployed in other countries while some local IT companies provide support to global companies.

The Comelec should continue to look into the viability these two alternative voting systems. It should formulate an evaluation system that takes into consideration the minimum system capabilities prescribed under the law. Then use the same evaluation system to re-assess the PCOS.

The consolidation and canvassing system is another critical component of the automated election system. In 2011, then Commissioner Gus Lagman had Comelec’s IT Department develop its own consolidation and canvassing system. But the internally developed software was never even considered for use. The head of the Comelec Law Department then opined that the consolidation and canvassing system must have been used in a prior election exercise as required by the Election Automation Law. If such was a strict requirement, then no consolidation and canvassing system supplied by any vendor would have qualified for use in Philippine elections. No consolidation and canvassing system supplied by any vendor will meet the unique procedural requirements of Philippine elections.

Another critical component of the automated election system is electronic transmission. In a recent bid for this component, only one bidder tendered its bid. None of the local telecommunications companies tendered a bid for the service. Once again, it looks like that electronic transmission of election results will be left in the hands of a foreign vendor.

Indeed, the Comelec does not have the luxury of time. But it should not fall the way of the line of least resistance and use what Comelec deems a “technology that has been tried and tested.”

The PCOS machines may have already been tried and tested but it only came out with many unresolved issues in the last two elections. For instance, while it is claimed that the PCOS machine can print a VVPAT, it was disabled because it can be used for vote buying. Surely, procedures can be instituted to prevent voters from bringing with them the VVPAT out of polling precincts. Some of the other issues against the PCOS that remain unresolved are verifiability of the votes, accuracy of the vote count, transparency, cost-effectiveness, validity of the digital signatures used to sign the election returns and its ability to electronically transmit 100% of the election returns.

Even if the existing PCOS machines were repaired and fully restored to operating condition, would the deficiencies found in the last two elections be resolved? Will the existing PCOS machines be made to work in accordance with the requirements of the Election Automation Law?

Only ten months remain before the 2016 elections. It is worth noting that Filipino IT professionals can work under pressure. It is suggested that the Comelec now work closely with the proponents of the alternative voting system to come up with a project plan

Let’s face IT. The PCOS machines still have unresolved issues. Should Filipino voters accept a system that has fallen short and continues to fall short of the requirements of the law? PATAS and TAPAT are viable solutions that meet the requirements of the Election Automation Law. Both voting systems were made by Filipinos, for Filipinos.


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  1. The problem with this group that promotes PATAS and TAPAT is they keep inventing lies about the shortcomings of PCOS during the 2010 and 2013 to discredit the foreign supplier, Smartmatic in order to insist on a Filipino made alternative. They keep claiming that Smatmatic and Comelec have broken many laws but when it comes to pushing their product they want to be exempted from the law. The law clearly states that the system should had been used SUCCESSFULLY in a prior election WITH VERY GOOD REASON. Take the case of TAPAT, touted by its promoters as an ingenious Filipino invention, really!!! It makes use of a run of mill tablet, probably a copied and modified open source scanning code that prints a receipt and whala, an invention! Yes, Fiipino style. This thing is not of industrial strength and I highly doubt if the source code would even pass the stringent requirements of an international certification body. My advice to the engineers of TAPAT, abandon your current advisers because their motives are self serving and get an investor partner who will help you upgrade your ideas to industrial strength level and have it used in some school or organizational elections so you could follow the law and perhaps qualify to bid in 2019.

  2. Bonifacio Claudio on

    If the hocus PCOS machines would be used again this coming May 2016 elections, then I, for one, I will not go out to vote. Come what may in that election , I shall be content with the knowledge that I did not lend myself to election fraud. If there would be demonstrations in the streets to manifest dissent over the use of the PCOS machines, then I, for one, I would surely go out to join them to protest.

  3. all of the election problems are GMA’s fault… Ask noynoy for an honest to goodness answer!. he… he… he…

  4. The Pcos is the ultimate solution for a controlled election results of the current government and it has been decided with finality that it will do its work again in the 2016 elections and the results they want is the results we the people will get. That could be the reason why our president smiles all the time because he will be surely happy about the results of the next presidential elections.

  5. I believe there is enough time to do the right thing for this coming election. Comelec must stop procrastinating.
    The Future of our Country hinges on this coming election. All must be duty bound to protect and assure a clean honest vote counting mechanism for the sake of transparency and True Will of the people!

  6. Probably the Fast Manual Voting System, another alternative was ignored because it is not represented by any group or exposed to the voting public. The system is more simple, faster, and very transparent, and reliable system. Please see how it works on my Timeline on Facebook.

  7. Amnata Pundit on

    Like I said in my previous responses on this subject, that commonly overlooked provision calling for a system that has been used in a prior election guarantees that only a foreign system like Smartmatic can be used by Comelec. Only if Congress or the Supreme Court strikes out that provision can TAPAT and PATAS have a chance of replacing the cheating machines of Smartmatic. We know Congress will not do it. Will the Supreme Court? What do you think?

  8. ‘Short time’ gamit ng ‘comecollect’ para mapwersa winner ang smartmatic hukos pcos voting machines. A very effective strategy – when time is short, smartmatic ulit! Hindi na aangal ang tao magkaelection lang. Notice the comecollect people, they are doing ‘noynoying’ para wala na kunong time.

  9. Vic Penetrante on

    Comelec wants to be true to the saying, “No prophet is honored in his hometown.” Comelec prefers the sub-standard, more expensive brands of foreign machines.

  10. jesus nazario on

    Ang PATaS at TAPAT na solusyon combined ay SAPAT nang lunas para mawala ang lahat ng kapalpakan ng 2010 at 2013 eleksyon.