MANILA, Philippines–Hack it and prove that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines can be manipulated, otherwise hug it and embrace the truth that these can be trusted by the voters, an election lawyer told critics Sunday.
“Information Technology (IT) experts critical of the PCOS will be doing a great service to the nation if they could prove their vaunted claim that the PCOS system could be hacked, or its results could be tampered with,” election law expert Romulo Macalintal said in a statement Sunday.
On May 6, all the 79,000 clustered precincts that will function in the May 13 elections will be opened where their respective Boards of Election Inspectors (BEI) will publicly test and seal the PCOS machine assigned in their respective precincts. Each BEI will use ten 10 genuine official ballots to be cast into the PCOS machines by 10 voters randomly selected from those present pursuant to Sections 20 and 22 of Comelec Resolution No. 9640 dated February 15, 2013.
After test voting, there will also be printing of actual election returns for national and local candidates showing the votes they obtained which will be compared with the results of the manual count of the ballots cast by the 10 randomly selected voters.
With 10 test-ballots per clustered precinct, there will be a total of 790,000 official ballots that will be cast during the aforesaid nationwide PCOS testing.
“Only by showing that a ballot cast for Candidate A is credited by the PCOS machine for Candidate B could these critics prove their vaunted claim that the PCOS could not be relied upon,” Macalintal said.
“However, if everything turns out right or no major glitches occurred during such testing, these IT experts and critics of PCOS should be honest enough to admit their wrong impression or analysis of the PCOS and show its support to the Comelec for a successful clean and credible election on May 13,” he said.