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Dry run exposes glitches in poll equipment

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MOCK ELECTION. Voters cast thier vote during a mock election at UP Integrated High School in Quezon City.ARNOLD ALMACEN/INQUIRER

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections’ dry run for the May 2013 elections was marred by glitches but Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. insisted that no major problem occurred.

Brillantes said the “minor” problems encountered during Saturday mock elections in 10 places across the country included precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that did not immediately start or paper ballots that jammed.

Eric Alvia, secretary general of the election watchdog National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), said the other glitches reported were differing lists of voters, low turnout, PCOS machines with missing clips and rollers that did not work, and technical staff who did not report early.

“We saw no major problem. We had some initial minor problems but everything has settled down,” Brillantes said at a press conference at the P. Bernardo High School in Quezon City, one of the main voting centers.

“It’s speculative but maybe since the PCOS machines were last used in the 2010 elections, or two and a half years ago, we needed to heat them up a bit,” he added.

The Comelec held the mock elections 10 areas across the country from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and it involved 1,639 potential voters in 11 polling precincts. Brillantes said no major problems occurred.

Brillantes said one of the minor problems they encountered was the “initialization” or starting up of the PCOS machine at the University of the Philippines Integrated School in Diliman, Quezon City.

“And then when it started, the ballots would not enter. The machines did not absorb them. So, what happened was that there was an issue of whether the ballots were too thick,” he said.

To remedy the problem, the Comelec had to bring in a new PCOS machine and replace the one that malfunctioned.

“We will look into the extent of this problem. We think at this point that it affects that individual machine only,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.

“We are also looking at the possibility that the ballot was rejected because it was somewhat crumpled at the edges, so maybe it did not fit the roller. Again we have to check the tolerance of the roller,” he added.

Jimenez said the Comelec would investigate the glitches so they would not recur on election day.

“We have 76,000 (voting) precincts but we have more than 81,000 machines so that the excess could be used for contingencies,” he added.

NAMFREL’s Alvia said that the reported incidents of ballot  jamming in PCOS machines was a reminder for the Comelec.

“It’s a (lesson) because from February 4 to April 25, we print the official ballots. Now is the time to make sure the grade or quality of the paper is appropriate for the PCOS machines,” Alvia said.

“We don’t know if maybe the the humidity might affect the thickness, or how you store it, how you package it, you name it. Even the grade of the paper, it’s a science in itself. We have to pay attention to those things,” he added.

Alvia said incidents of jammed ballots were reported at the UP Integrated School, at  P. Bernardo High School, and in Singalong, Manila.

He said the principal of P. Bernardo High School informed him that they had to assemble the kit for the PCOS machine on their own because there was no technical staff present.

“There was an absence of technical personnel from the vendor. They were not here. The technical person arrived at 7:15. So, you really have to be present early on,” Alvia said in an interview. “The teachers who were here—I surmised that some of them were really seasoned and trained already—they really knew how to respond to it and they kept calm,” he added.

Alvia noted that as of 10 a.m. Saturday—three hours after the precincts opened—only 27 out of the 750 voters had cast their ballots.

He also noted that the list of voters posted outside the precinct was different from the one that the Board of Election Inspectors held.

“There was a lady (who) had some difficulty in searching (for her) name. Anyway, we still have around two weeks to go before Comelec releases the CVL (Certified List of Voters) and we’re waiting for that,” Alvia said.

“NAMFREL and the other groups  can help to really authenticate and validate if the CVL that Comelec national produces is one and the same as what the local Comelec has. It’s an area where fraud could occur,” he added.

Alvia also suggested that the Comelec should avoid using thermal paper in future elections.

“You can use ordinary paper. An ink printer may be mechanical but the ink would last. If you expose thermal paper to UV (ultraviolet) light, after probably one day, you won’t be able to read (what’s printed on it),” he said.

“And if you are really going to use that as a log, as a paper trail, then it defeats the purpose of using thermal paper,” he added.


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Tags: Automation , Comelec , election 2013 , Politics , technology


  • wawa2172

    PCOS machine worked well during the 2010 election. A brainchild of PGMA admin and will be used again by PNoy admin, it is better than the manual election. It may not be perfect and there is no such thing as such whatever glitches that resulted during the mock election could still be corrected. Mas mahirap mandaya sa computerized na system so tama lamang na gamitin uli nang comelec ang PCOS dahil tested na ito sa past election. Form Abalos to Brilliantes, the are not honest election managers but we know that this two are not IT experts so they won’t know how to manipulate voters counts using computer.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/UGQ4GAYYTW4AMKNNYNKUOVBXYI Catherine

       you started po with a good premise. but what did you mean by not honest election managers? i think at least with the present commissioners, there is sincerity in trying their best to deliver well.  sana po hwag muna mag husga.  kung ang mga accused nga they are presumed innocent until proven guilty, bakit naman po ang mga comelec commissioners or ang comelec po mismo na sagad na sa hirap ng kanilang trabaho, para bang hinuhusgahan na.  dapat sana tulungan pa po natin sila para maging maayos ang election.  nakakaawa na nga po sila pag binabanatan ng mga taong may kani kanilang mga motibo na hindi naman po para sa common good ng ating bayan.   

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CG6AWFVDA46M5DMR2G7VNAMFUM Mark

        “kung ang mga accused nga they are presumed innocent until proven guilty” – Maam hindi na uso yang motto mo ngayun sa Pilipinas..Ang motto ngayun ng present administration sa Pinas- “the accused is already guilty because that is what I want” . . .gets mo? peace!

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/UGQ4GAYYTW4AMKNNYNKUOVBXYI Catherine

         sabagay po mr. mark, totoo din po ang inyong sinasabi.masyado po kasing powerful ang ating pangulo at ang iba pang mga nasa gobyerno.  paano po ba kaya uunlad ang bayan natin na maski gusto po ng iba na ayusin ang pagpapalakad, tinatako po.  

  • basyong

    akala ko ba anything to do with pandak s term e lahat corrupt? bakit ngayon pati PCOS hokus pokus e ipagpapatuloy ni abnoy? ganyan ba ang daang matuwid ? gaya gaya puto maya? hehehehe

    • bongarroyo

      hello garci!!! si maam mo ito ayos na ba ang ipinagagawa ko sa iyo?

      • basyong

        gagayahin din ni abnoy ang hello garci kaso lang hello sixto naman.hehehehehe.yan ang daang matuwid

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/UGQ4GAYYTW4AMKNNYNKUOVBXYI Catherine

         talaga naman po napakawawa ng ating mga opisyal sa gobyerno.  nilalahat po ninyo. may mga matitinong tao naman po.

      • basyong

        ganoon ba? e yung galit ni abnoy sa nakaraan administrasyon e nilahat tapos gusto mo ako iisaisahin ko ang mga matitinong tao sa gobyerno.e aba kapag ikaw ba e pinukol ka ng bato e di pukulin mo rin ng bato.yan ang katotohanan at hindi mo pwedeng daanin sa dasal

  • John Jacob

    dry run ng cheating yan.  no more no less.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/UGQ4GAYYTW4AMKNNYNKUOVBXYI Catherine

       o, ayan na naman po.  kabibilis po nating mag husga gaya ng nasabi ko na po.  sana ipagdasal na lang natin na maging maayos ang lahat. 

      • John Jacob

        poll cheating operating system – PCOS.   my perception not yours.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/UGQ4GAYYTW4AMKNNYNKUOVBXYI Catherine

         your perception po on what basis?  have you ever worked there or have you been witness to cheating? are you an IT?  again, accused are always innocent until proven guilty.  thanks po.

      • John Jacob

         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartmatic .  even wikipedia has documented the glitches of the machines called PCOS.  our government has been fooled in buying these machines and the software that goes along with them.   looking for basis… the keywords are SMARTMATIC SCAMS.  you’ll find a lot of articles about it. 

      • John Jacob

        even wikipedia has documented the glitches of the machines called
        PCOS. our government has been fooled in buying these machines and the
        software that goes along with them. looking for basis… the keywords
        are SMARTMATIC SCAMS. you’ll find a lot of articles about it.

  • Guest

    How many out the 81,000 PCOS machines are functioning properly?  It might turn out that less than 76,000 of them are functioning. Make the most of the preparation time from here on till May.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RY26XAF5VFTIY2IRI7MVPZ3IWE Nani

    Bago nyo po binili ang PCOS machine na yan ay dapat alam nyo na kung anong klaseng papel ang dapat gamitin at kung ano ang kapal ng papel. May specification naman po yan. Di ko ma intindhan kung bakit nag print ng sample balot na di tugma sa kailangan ng machine. 

  • parefrank

    Machines worked 2010? You have a short memory. Smartmatic changed a lot of PCOS for “glitches”. But the main problem are not such glitches. The main problem are the PCOS chips. Without an independent checking of the program immediately after elecion, there could be the samesuspicion than after 2010 polls.
    There have been so extreme changes in votes for candidates who all the time to election day had high survey results but low oucome at the poll. The suspect matters have been that Smartmatic changed the chips of all PCOS just before election day, without any check of the programming and that Comelec after election prohibited and criminalized any checking of chips and then destroyed all chips even they can be reprogrammed for new elections instead of buying new chips for hundreds of millions. Such manner does not exist in any country where elections are clean.

  • John Jacob

    PCOS stands for POLL CHEATING OPERATING SYSTEM.

  • $20926843

    Minor problems or glitches multiplied exponentially equals CHAOS! A brilliant formula of Brillantes courtesy of his patron the inutile and autistic president from malacang!

    • muddygoose

      What a brilliant observation. In contrast, the efficient GMA Comelec did much better by finding glitches during the actual election. 

  • catalansbarce

    Konting problema lang yan sa PCOS machine…, there is no such thing
    as PERFECT. Sandali lang yan e koreksyon ng mga technician. Ang mahalaga
    iboto mo ang lahat na kandidato sa TEAM PNOY.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UGQ4GAYYTW4AMKNNYNKUOVBXYI Catherine

    how sad it is that people’s perception herein are that it is given there will be cheating.  i understand the past experiences but this time, with a chairman, who was an election lawyer, who saw all the cheating and all the maneuverings in the past may just be trying his best to fix things.  why don’t we just all be vigilant, help as much as we can and stop presuming we are  perfect and only others are at fault.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E3CE56OQVPC4RPYD2NR4VD3SUE Bert

      Get real, Brillantes was PNOY’s election lawyer during the last election, so naturally, the suspicion of being biased to the president’s political party is always there. 

      But you are correct, let us just be vigilant. 

      And btw, SAY NO TO POLITICAL DYNASTIES, YES TO FOI BILL!!!

  • indiots

    nagkapresidente tayo ng matino dahil sa PCOS na yan, tapos angal pa rin kayo…. anong gusto n’yo mano mano na naman? kikita na naman nyan yong mga magician…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E3CE56OQVPC4RPYD2NR4VD3SUE Bert

      pero sa tingin ko, mas malaki ang kikitain ng pcos magician….but still, i am for pcos counting with all the safety nets being implemented….

      • indiots

        actually bilib pa rin ako sa computerization gamit ang PCOS na yan

  • bongarroyo

    sa america nga nagkakaroon ng ganyang problema sa pilipinas pa kaya…
     
    wala sa pcos ang dayaan nasa namamahala ng comelec iyan..

    kaya nga nagkaroon ng hello garci scandal e..
     
     

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CG6AWFVDA46M5DMR2G7VNAMFUM Mark

    FYI !!! Plunder case against Arroyo et al, dismissed due to no evidence (at all) “as confirmed by a reliable source who refused to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter”.

    tsk.tsk.tsk..Sino ba ang nag sisinungaling?! Puro joker na talaga ang politiko sa Pinas!

    • bongarroyo

      e di ikaw kasi secret ang reliable source mo e…

  • doncleo

    Anak ng tinapang dalaga! …hindi ba ginamit na ito noong 2010? Bakit hindi pa din alam kung ano ang kapal ng papel na dapat gamitin? Di ba dapat ksama na yan sa specs ng machine?…sana comelec wag nyo na kming idamay sa kabobohan nyo!

  • doncleo

    Dismissed due to lack of evidence lang.kulang lng po sa ebidensya .. di ibig sabihin hindi sya nagnamaw..di bale alam na ng tao yan.

    • bongarroyo

      ang reliable source ni mark ay si topacio at horn..

  • Dawn Dare

    Don’t you think it’s fishy that thermal paper will be used? That’s like using invisible/vanishing ink.

  • zeroko

    Laking blunder! Buti si laughing dog, Commissioner Sarmienta has already retired. Si Sarmienta ang dapat mag press release diyan dahil kayang  kaya niyang bolahin ang mamamayan. Kahit na grabe ang problema, bungis lang siya ng bungis-ngis.

    Laking pera ang nawala dahil sa kapalpakan ng (PCOS) machine. And there is no more time to calibrate the machine comes May 13, 2013 election. Wala na! Ngayon pa lang, sasabihin ko, may failure of election comes voting time. Hindi yan minor problem. At a ratio of one is to one, ayaw tangapin ng machine ang ballot, many times! Tapos, sasabihin mang minor problem yan? Ooooo! Tell that to the marines. He he he. Kung ako si Brilliantes, ngayon pa lang mag-resign na siya. That is the “mother of the biggest blunder” comes election time. Nation wide, magkakaroon ng problema. 

    Paano kasi, puro press release at puro dipensa ang ginagawa ng COMELEC spokesperson na si Jimenez. Puro english, o, paano ngayon yan?. Can he reason his way out of the blunder? Wala nang time. He he he, May gumawa na naman ng kapalpakan. Mantakin mo, PCOS machine, missing clips, dis-align rollers, ano pa ang excuse? 

    Bobo. COMELEC was fooled once, now, it has been fooled again. Mahilig kasi sa “Ukay-ukay” second hand voting machine. 

  • catmanjohn

    For future’s sake, there should be a plan ‘B’ which would have manual back-up machines, a more reliable manner of counting votes. Computers and electronics are sensitive to heat and humidity, and can easily go awry, not to mention the servers and softwares that could be manipulated in the final stages of counting. Pay attention People… the Devil is in the details.

  • John Jacob

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartmatic .  even wikipedia has
    documented the glitches of the machines called PCOS.  our government has
    been fooled in buying these machines and the software that goes along
    with them.   looking for basis… the keywords are smartmatic s cams. 
    you’ll find a lot of articles about it. 

  • John Jacob

    even wikipedia has documented the glitches of the machines called
    PCOS. our government has been fooled in buying these machines and the
    software that goes along with them. looking for basis… the keywords
    are SMARTMATIC SCAMS. you’ll find a lot of articles about it.

  • patrickinca

    Do not vote on the May Election. For those PCOS machines are already rigged or through the globe network. So Stop wasting your time. 



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