Latest Stories

Brillantes: If they don’t want PCOS, let’s go back to manual

By , , Erika Sauler

In a dry run, glitches are unavoidable.

“I don’t understand all the noise, these critics,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told reporters on Monday. “They know that mock elections are never perfect.”

Brillantes shrugged off fears gremlins that hounded the exercise on Saturday in preparation for the May 13 elections showed the Comelec might be unprepared for another automated balloting.

The poll watchdog Kontra Daya on Sunday expressed concern that more glitches might attend the next balloting because the problems that were encountered during the 2010 balloting have yet to be addressed.

The group said Saturday’s dry run in 20 voting centers in 10 areas in the country included the failure of some of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to read ballots, the rejection of some ballots by the machines and the thermal papers did not properly fit in the PCOS printer.

“While we find fault in the system to fix these things, these critics are finding fault to attack us,” said an exasperated Brillantes.

The Comelec chief pointed out that these were “minor glitches” that could be corrected before May 13. “What do they want? Minor glitches are unavoidable,” he said.

Brillantes conceded that on Election Day, some hitches were sure to hit “one out of the 81,000” voting machines.

“If they want to change the PCOS, let’s just go back to manual because it’s too late for us to order [a new technology],” he said.

President confident

Malacañang downplayed the apprehensions.

“This is not the first time the Comelec is going to oversee an automated elections,” said President Aquino’s spokesman, Edwin Lacierda.

“This is something that the Comelec has experience with—notwithstanding the presence of some new commissioners. The bureaucracy is familiar already with automated elections,” Lacierda said.

“The President has already indicated that the election should be conducted with full integrity. And so, we expect the Comelec to ensure that the elections in 2013 will be devoid of irregularities,” he said in a briefing. “I am sure no one is going to question the intent, the determination of Comelec to prove itself as an arbiter of a peaceful, orderly and honest elections.”

In a news forum on Monday three senatorial candidates—former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito and former Chairperson Grace Poe-Llamanzares of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board—likewise expressed apprehension over Saturday’s dry run.

“When there’s a problem with the transmission of votes, it’s already a major glitch,” Maceda said. “I’m also worried when they said that because of storage, we have to heat up the PCOS machines before we use them. Of the 86,000 machines, they should start reviewing now if the batteries are still working.”

“An IT (information technology) expert said that of a thousand ballots, four were anomalous. If you multiply that, it’s a lot of votes. It’s not a minor glitch because every vote is important,” Llamanzares said, citing her improved but still precarious showing in a survey of the senatorial race from 20th to the 11th spot.

“If you noticed, there are a lot of dropped calls recently and the connection is really bad,” Llamanzares said, attributing it to the flurry of communication activities due to the election and campaign period.

No backup

“Can you imagine, come election day, the PCOS machines won’t just be the problem. With the sheer volume of data being transmitted, there is really a big possibility of signal problems,” said Llamanzares, a former member of Kontra Daya.

JV Ejercito said: “The glitches are a cause for concern. The Comelec has no alternative, no backup, no manual system.

“When the PCOS machines were introduced, it was thought that less human intervention is better because there is less risk of tampering with the votes. But if there are problems like these, what will be our fallback?” Ejercito asked.

Also on Monday, Brillantes said that the printing of the official ballots at the National Printing Office (NPO) could start a day later than scheduled.

It was supposed to begin Monday but as of press time, the printing has yet to start pending the transmission of images and ballot design from its warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna privince.

“It might start tonight (Monday) or maybe tomorrow (Tuesday) because we are still waiting for the preliminaries,” Brillantes said.

The NPO will initially print 770,000 ballots, or 10 ballots for each of the 77,000 precincts, for the testing and sealing of the PCOS machines, which has been set a week before the elections.

This figure is on top of the more than 52 million official ballots that have to be printed for the May 13 elections.

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: Commission on Elections (Comelec) , Elections , Politics , precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines , Sixto Brillantes , technology

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. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  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. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • PNP chief on plunder raps: ‘Amateurish’
  • Makati readies 12-month traffic plan for Skyway 3
  • Heard on Radyo Inquirer 990AM
  • Did you know
  • HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces, force do-or-die tiff
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Honda upgrades PH plant
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace