Latest Stories

Bishop accuses Comelec of ‘stonewalling’ on PCOS


A Catholic bishop on Saturday accused the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of repeatedly “stonewalling” when questions are raised about the integrity of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that will be used in the May 2013 automated elections.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo cited in particular the warnings from the election watchdog Automated Election System (AES) Watch that “wholesale cheating” could occur with the use of the PCOS machines.

AES Watch and Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. gave a briefing for the bishops in a plenary session last month but Pabillo said the Comelec chief left them with more questions than answers.

According to the bishop, even with the elections now being completely automated, he has received information that so-called “election operators” were asking for P20 million to “fix” a provincial gubernatorial race and P70 million for a mayoralty race in Metro Manila.

He said he had reiterated to Brillantes and Comelec officials the Church position that the poll body should look into the PCOS machines, which they claimed had many problems.

“[But the Comelec] believes that everything is OK. That is stonewalling. They’re saying, ‘We did no wrong and just take our word for it.’ Instead of taking seriously and looking into these concerns, they’re downplaying it,” said Pabillo, who heads the National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Unanswered questions

He said Brillantes had assured the bishops that there would be elections in May and had downplayed the bishops’ questions about the digital signatures, alleged cheating in the 2010 elections and the disagreement between Smartmatic and Dominion.

“We said, ‘Won’t there be a problem if you use pirated software. What will happen with the source code review?’ He did not answer that,” Pabillo said.

“We mentioned the glitches during the last elections. Why is it that no one was held accountable? Why is it that no one was punished?” he added.

He said these issues that were raised by AES Watch showed the bishops that there was a “serious problem” with the automated election system.

The Comelec had designated SLI Global, a US-based company that conducts voting systems certification testing, to review the source code, or the set of computer instructions for the automated voting program.

SLI Global’s certification could not be released, however, after Smartmatic, the supplier of the PCOS machines, had a falling out with its corporate partner, Dominion Voting System, whose approval was needed for the code to be released.

“The bishops saw that there is a serious problem, that wholesale cheating could occur,” Pabillo said.

The bishop suggested that the Comelec revert to a “manual system” of voting and counting votes at the precinct level. But he said the transmission of the results to the canvassing centers should be automated.

Pabillo said the government may be closing out the questions being raised about the integrity of the PCOS machines because “many [politicians] who are with the [ruling] Liberal Party might be affected.”

While admitting that he had no evidence, the bishop said he had received reports that “political operators” were already approaching candidates and offering to help them win their way to public office.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: AES Watch , Automated Election System Watch , Broderick Pabillo , Catholic bishop , Comelec , Commission on Elections , PCOS machines , Precinct Count Optical Scan

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Russia promises support to ending Ukraine crisis
  • Busted valve delays water interruption
  • Cardinal Tagle decries human ‘commercialization’
  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus
  • Iran general urges Tehran to make new UN pick
  • Sports

  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • Marketplace