The invitation to bid for the lease of additional 23,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines released last week only confirms that Comelec is still bent in using the defective 82,000 PCOS machines used in 2010 and 2013. This is in spite of the fact that several critical issues remain UNSETTLED till now regarding the electronic dagdag-bawas discussed in the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee hearings.
Hereunder are the highlights of the last hearing on September 18, 2014.
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SEN. ALLAN CAYETANO (SAC). xxxx Pero totoo ho ba na apat lang ang binoto pero ang binilang ng makina ay labindalawa. xxxx
MR. SIXTO BRILLANTES (MSB). For the record, puwede hong mangyari.
SAC. xxx puwedeng mangyari sa buong Pilipinas xxx apat lang ang binoto ng isang tao pero labindalawa po ang bibilangin noong makina?
MSB. TAMA HO IYON!
SAC. Did it only happen, Mr. Chair, in the 2013 or pati 2010?
MSB. Nakita ho naming iyan sa 2013…Hindi pa ho naming natsi-check na iyong 2010 xxx.
SAC. xxx How can xxx people na nagbabantay xxx study on their own to see whether it did or it did not affect the results of the 2013 election xxx ?
MSB. Na-erase na ho ito doon sa ongoing protest cases.
SAC.xxx Mr. Chair, sa mga walang protest cases, so maaari din pong may dinagdag xxx.
MSB. OHO! Tsitsekin din ho natin xxx
SAC. But this puts a cloud on the whole system xxx But unless you resolve this—
MSB. Tama ho iyon, sir. xxx we are trying to resolve it already xxx and there are cases pending xxx we are coming out with official report on these items where there are cases where mas marami ho ang nabilang.
SAC. But in the meantime, Mr. Chair, you are buying the new—you are going towards…
MSB. It has nothing to do with the PCOS machine xxx Most PROBABLY the tinta ho. xxx
SAC.No. But it goes to the heart of whether automation is better than manual.
MSB. Ah, yes. Each and every deficiency, defect, glitches will always go into the heart.
SAC. Then, xxx how can we decide on having a manual or automated in 2016 if we can’t assure our people that walang dagdag-bawas. xxx But this is the first time xxx that I’ve heard the Comelec admit that it could happen. xxx the protest cases are small compared to 2016, to presidential election. You saw what happened sa “Hello, Garci.” You saw how the country tumbled, Mr. Chair.
MSB. xxx the machine is not perfect. xxx There are certain glitches xxx deficiencies that can xxx…adversely affect the results because hindi ho naman massive, hindi ho naman marami, hindi naman kuwan, xxx Ngayon, tinitingnan namin.
SAC. xxx I think we owe our people a direct answer xxx Wala pong nagsasabing perpekto iyong machine. xxx Ang question dito kung reliable o hindi.
MSB. Very reliable ho.
SAC. How can you tell me in the same breath—you just told me five minutes ago that it is possible that all over the country the machine counted non-existent votes. You said you’re only seeing this in areas that there is a protest. But there are many more areas na walang protesta. So what are you telling the Committee now, is it reliable or not? xxx
MSB. It’s possible that it didn’t happen in any other place except in Lapu-Lapu or in a few areas.
SAC. In other words, sir, you don’t know.
MSB. That’s correct!
SAC. So now how can you say that it’s reliable if you don’t know? xxx
MSB.…we are monitoring all of those ballot boxes where it’s being opened so that we will know if it’s happening in those areas.
SAC. xxx So under the present system, massive cheating in 2016 is very possible?
SAC. Nasabi niyo po kanina you do not know.
MSB. Hindi ho naman massive cheating ito. This is something like a glitch that happened xxx
SAC. xxx when the machine counts votes that weren’t there, that’s cheating. Whether you call it an error—
MSB. Hindi ho. That is not a correct conclusion, Your Honor.
SAC. So you mean, Mr. Chair, puwedeng nakaupo ako dito sa Senado hindi naman pala ako binoto ng tao, hindi cheating iyon?
MSB. xxx Puwede hong mayroon nagkamali ng kuwan. Iyong makina ho ang may glitch. Makina ho iyon.
SAC. xxx we have a big problem if that’s going to be the attitude of the Comelec. I want certainty by the time we pass the budget whether or not the system is reliable, Mr. Chair.
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You judge if we should still use those defective PCOS machines or go manual with electronic transmission instead! Comelec is still in a quandary. Ask the AES Watch group and they will tell you,“Junk the PCOS machines now!”