Group sees flaw in PCOS probe invitations, schedule
DAVAO CITY—An advocate group for credible and honest elections expressed dismay that the investigation into the issue of “digital lines” in precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines was scheduled at a very short notice and at a time when people were already out of the country for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Lawyer Melchor Magdamo, co-convenor of the group Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (CCCE), said not all of the advocates for credible and clean elections were able to participate in the investigation called by the joint congressional oversight committee, because they got the invitation at a very short notice and most of those concerned already had prior commitments or were out on a holiday.
The investigation was supposed to look into the issue of digital lines produced by PCOS machines, which experts said were signs of irregularities and miscounting of votes, putting in doubt the accuracy of the results of the automated elections in 2013.
Magdamo said a “digital line committee” was created in September and had three months to conduct the investigation until the Dec. 18 deadline. “But why do they have to wait only days before deadline (and at a very short notice) to conduct an investigation?” he said in a phone interview.
Comelec Executive Director Jose Tolentino Jr. sent the invitation through the joint congressional oversight committee, which in turn, sent the invitation to election watchdogs like CCCE.
Magdamo said he was able to attend the first day of the investigation but had to leave the following day because of a prior engagement. Since only a few of the election watchdogs were able to attend, they signed a letter of protest because of the way that the investigation was conducted.
He also questioned why the committee excluded in the investigation the precincts where some abnormalities have been detected and picked only the “healthy” ones.
Of the 300 PCOS machines offered for examination, the Department of Science and Technology randomly selected 11 machines, seven of which were proven to have deliberately generated digital lines.
“That is scary because the 300 PCOS were not randomly selected but were offered as the best PCOS machines. But 11 of them were proven to have miscounted, seven of them proven to have deliberately generated digital lines,” he said.
He also said the digital lines have generated a huge number of erroneous vote count, “more than half of what was acceptable.” Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao
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