Comelec uses plastic seals instead of padlocks


Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expecting to save millions of pesos by replacing the padlocks on ballot boxes with serialized plastic seals and by forgoing the purchase of thumbmarkers used in getting the thumbmarks of voters.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told reporters that they are replacing padlocks because they are heavy and bulky and do not have serial numbers. They can also be easily opened and closed again without leaving any signs of tampering, he said.

“Padlocks are expensive and heavy. We decided to use small plastics seals that have serial numbers,” Brillantes said. “If it is tampered it cannot be replaced [and] we can check it through its serial number.”

Padlocks with key would cost around P125 per unit while the plastic seals cost around P30 per unit. At least 270,600 units of padlocks are needed or 452,000 units of plastic seals.

A ballot box would require at least four padlocks or seals.

Brilantes said that the padlocks would have cost the Comelec around P32.4 million while plastic seals, based on computations, will cost around P14 million.

“That’s a big difference, more than 50 percent would be saved. The padlock is the most expensive,” Brillantes said.

“Under an automated system, the ballots do not require so much protection because there are already picture images [of the ballots],” he said.

Brillantes also said that voters will no longer have to place their thumbmarks when they vote. They will only have to put their signatures.

“When voters have their thumbmarks taken before voting, it might smudge on the ballot,” Brillantes said.

The ballots have a tendency to be rejected by the Precint Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines if there are stray marks on it.

“Technical examination on whether the person voted will depend on the signature,” Brillantes said. “Anyway biometrics of voters now have photos.”

Because they no longer need thumbmarks, the Comelec will be able to save around P12.4 million from the purchase of thumbmarkers which cost P24 each, Brillantes said.

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  • kismaytami

    My goodness! P125.00 per padlock, and P30.00 per plastic seal! Saang high-end department store o shop kaya binibili ng Comelec ang mga ito?

    • magiting78

      Masyado naman malisyoso….Mura n nga yung P125 n podlock try mo bumili nung magandang klase n combination lock nasa 200-300 ang isa..yung plastic seal kailangan ng inprinta ng serial number at bar code…kaya tama lng presyo nya…

    • allenqc

      My goodness! 1970s pa siguro jan si lugar niyo.

  • i_am_filipino

    Very nice idea. Serial plastic is more secured and cant be tampered. In addition, photographs the seal before letting it go. This includes date and time when it was sealed

  • Your_King

    So is this the Comelec’s only solution to the PCOS problem? Any smudge on the ballot will be rejected by the machine? How about checking the machine or fixing it? It’s not like this problem happened over night. It has been a lingering problem that has been ignored and now that the elections is right around the corner the problem’s solution is that? So not only is the Comelec cheap but also ignorant to the real problem of the machines.

  • themask celestial

    This is what we needed on our country an innovative gov’t officials. Talo lang ni Chairman ang mga batang officials, ie Mayor Bautista ng QC, Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno ng Manila, kudos chairman. Maraming-maraming salamat

  • X44

    kung ganito lang ang mga senador, ang swerte sana natin…                  sana.

  • opinyonlangpo

    Sometimes this chairman makes sense and sometimes he overdo things. Thats a huge savings for a more efficient way to secure the boxes.

    • krizzibarra

      yes and it’a now also easier to cut out the seals and replace the contents. seems like a poor cost saving move. 

      • opinyonlangpo

        Usually they do not do that, what I have read is that they replace the whole box and its contents. A padlock can be tampered easier than the plastic seals.

  • Jose

    Why plastic? Don’t these people at Comelec have brains and can find a way to count the votes electronically in real time and every voter can verify his/her after the vote is made?  You can’t do anything if you begin to say that you can’t do it.  With all the advances in technology where purchases using bank cards are done in real time very accurately, and we can’t do a simpler thing like accurately counting votes?  This would eliminate people from winning the count although losing the votes.  Then when this is election is fixed we can worry about fixing the representatives who represent nobody but themselves and their rich bosses. 

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