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Critics gang up on Comelec chief over decision to use PCOS machines in 2013 polls

Critics, including losing candidates in the 2010 polls, on Thursday ganged up on Chairman Sixto Brillantes of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) because of his decision to reuse precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in next year’s elections.

But Brillantes found an ally in Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who challenged critics to identify elected officials presently occupying government posts who benefited from alleged glitches in the automated voting.

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“Of course, any technician can find something to criticize. But I’m talking about the result of the last election. If you can prove to us that there are people sitting now, exercising power, who were the product of cheating during the last election, then maybe we are open [to changing the system],” Enrile told complainants at the hearing of the committee on electoral reforms.

Among the losing candidates who showed up in the hearing were ex-Mayor Lito Atienza of Manila and former House Representatives Glen Chong of Biliran and Thomas Dumpit Jr. of La Union.

“If we say there’s cheating with PCOS, are we also saying that the victory of President Aquino involved cheating? I think that’s impossible. Even in the case of (Vice President Jejomar) Binay, there was no cheating,” Enrile said in Filipino, noting that he had presided over the canvassing of votes of president and vice president in the 2010 elections.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, the committee chairman, noted that most of the resource persons in attendance “are not satisfied” with the PCOS machines. He asked Brillantes if the Comelec had been approached by any group or individual endorsing the machines.

“There’s none. I don’t even know Smartmatic,” said Brillantes, referring to the private company that supplies the electronic voting machines that were used in the 2010 polls.

The Comelec earlier decided to exercise its option to purchase more than 80,000 PCOS machines to be used in the 2013 elections, a move that did not sit well with a number of groups.

Originally posted at 02:37 pm | Thursday, March 22,  2012

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TAGS: 2013 polls, Comelec, Election Automation, Elections, PCOS machines, Politics, Sixto Brillantes, technology
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