Commission on Elections Chairman (Comelec) Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Thursday said the poll body was confident that its decision to reuse and purchase precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for next year’s elections would be backed by the Supreme Court.
“We (commissioners) debated it lengthily. Why would we have a new public bidding [for a new contractor] if we have an option to purchase [the PCOS machines]? We really thought it will be beneficial to the government, the Comelec and the people because it’s less expensive,” Brillantes told reporters in an interview in Baguio City, where the poll body was set to have a special en banc session.
For his part, Commissioner Rene Sarmiento cited the familiarity of the voters with the machines and the Comelec’s limited budget in coming up with the decision.
“We decided to buy the machines for practical reasons. It is much cheaper and the PCOS was proven effective,” he said.
Brillantes maintained that the provision on the option to purchase appended to Comelec’s old contract with Smartmatic International, the poll body’s automation service provider in 2010, remained valid because it was repeatedly extended.