Pimentel urges Comelec not to use last elections’ vote counting computers | Inquirer News
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Pimentel urges Comelec not to use last elections’ vote counting computers

By: - Deputy Day Desk Chief / @TJBurgonioINQ
/ 08:02 PM March 17, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Aquilino “Koko’’ Pimentel III has asked the Commission on Elections to stop any payment to Smartmatic Corp. for its precinct  count optical scan (PCOS) machines, blaming them for the glitches in the May 2010 national elections.

Pimentel said that any compensation due Smartmatic for the use of its PCOS machines should not be made in view of the “glitches that attended the 2010 elections.’’

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“It makes no sense to adopt the same poll automation technology in succeeding elections, particularly in 2013 and 2016, if the glaring defects of the PCOS system are not rectified this early,’’ he said in a statement.

The Commission on Elections has decided to exercise an option to purchase at least 80,000 PCOS machines for the 2013 mid-term elections. It said that Smartmatic, its technology provider, has fixed the glitches in the system.

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Pimentel said that any decision on the kind of automated system to be used in the forthcoming elections should be based not only on financial considerations but also on accuracy and reliability.

“As a victim of dagdag-bawas (vote padding and shaving) in the 2007 senatorial elections, I want to ensure the sanctity of the ballot and the integrity of our electoral process. So let us think long and hard as to what system we should adopt,’’ he said.

While the 2010 automated national and local elections resulted in a speedy count and quick results, information technology experts had identified shortcomings in both the PCOS hardware and software that may have affected the results, Pimentel said.

Pimentel noted that Smartmatic had refused to reveal the source code used for the PCOS system, citing the lack of proprietary rights.

The Comelec had only leased the PCOS machines from Smartmatic.

“Why did the Comelec deal with an entity which did not own the source code?” Pimentel said.

Smartmatic asked the Comelec to purchase the PCOS machines used in 2010 at a big discount. The machines were still kept in warehouses, he noted.

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TAGS: Computerization, Elections, Poll Automation, Smartmatic Corp.
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