MANILA, Philippines — Critics of the controversial Precinct Count Optical Scan machines will have their opportunity to prove the that voting gadgets could be hacked or tampered with during their field testing on Monday, one week before the mid-term elections.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, in a statement, said field testing would generate 800,000 test ballots from precincts scattered throughout the country.
“Information Technology 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. With 800,000 test-ballots, these critics have equal number of chances or opportunities to prove if the contents of any of these 800,000 ballots could be manipulated, changed or tampered with to favor a particular candidate,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Today, the boards of election inspectors from 80,000 clustered precincts that will function in the May 13 elections will complete the final testing and sealing of PCOS in their respective precincts, each using 10 filled-up genuine official ballots to be fed into the PCOS machines by 10 voters randomly selected from those present.
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.
Should the critics find nothing wrong with the counting and transmission of votes, then they should also admit that their objections had no basis, Macalintal said.
“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. In other words, if they cannot hack it on May 6, then they should hug it or embrace the truth that the PCOS could be trusted by the voters,” he said.