Enrile confident of PCOS integrity, but Pimentel sees some loopholesBy Kate Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said that he is confident that the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that will be used in the 2013 elections are ready and tamperproof.
In a chance interview during the testing of the PCOS machines, Enrile said that he is convinced that cheating will be very difficult.
The testing was conducted during the joint committee hearings of Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation and the Select Oversight Committee on Suffrage in the Senate Thursday.
“Cheating is virtually impossible,” Enrile told reporters.
He admitted that before there were rumors of possible windows for electoral fraud even with the automated system using PCOS machines.
“There are people then offering something and claiming cheating can be done. I asked people I know who are familiar with these machines and they said cheating is impossible. It will be an elaborate conspiracy if that happens,” Enrile said in Filipino.
For his part, Smartmatic President Carlos Flores also guaranteed that their machines are fool-proof and are accurate.
“It is impossible to alter anything with this system and not be caught,” Flores told Enrile and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III during the committee meeting.
Meanwhile, Pimentel, head of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, said that though so far Smartmatic Asia Pacific–the company that will provide the PCOS machines for the elections—has been able to answer all his queries regarding the integrity of the PCOS machines, he still has some questions that have yet to be answered.
“Remember that we are only paying attention to the machines, but the automated elections have many aspects like transmission and consolidation and many questions are being asked on those aspects. There are still loopholes that can destroy or taint the election result no matter how accurate the machine is,” Pimentel said.
Also present during the PCOS machine testing were Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes, PPCRV Chairwoman Henrietta de Villa, Ma. Agnes Carreon of the Comelec’s Internal Audit Office, and Florante Varona of the National Statistics Office.