PCOS case: ‘Legitimacy’ of execs seen at stake
DAVAO CITY—Questions arising out of the automated elections of 2010 and 2013 are putting in doubt the legitimacy of the hold on their positions of the President down to the lowest local government official, according to an election reform advocacy group that has given a perspective in the controversy contrary to that of progressive lawmakers who are demanding transparency in the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) deals with service provider Smartmatic-TIM.
In a statement, the group Democracy Watch expressed concern over allegations of fraud, committed through precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that were used for the 2010 and 2013 national elections.
“These allegations put to question the legitimacy of President Aquino, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Franklin Drilon, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, legislators and all elected officials all the way down to the local government units,” said Democracy Watch in its statement.
The group, however, rejected suggestions made by some sectors for a return to the manual system.
“Going back to the old ways will bring back the nightmares of election violence, massive cheating and will slide us back to an unstable situation where the legitimacy of elected leaders are in question,” said the group.
Several groups, including those backed by the Church, point to flaws in the PCOS system that they said led to a 60:30:10 pattern of results that gave the ruling Liberal Party winning margins in House and Senate elections.
But Democracy Watch, in its statement, said a 2014 study has debunked the 60:30:10 theory, citing the findings made by experts from the De La Salle University.
The group’s position clashes with that of Makabayan bloc of progressive lawmakers in the House, who are demanding transparency in the Comelec’s dealings with Smartmatic-TIM.
In a separate statement, Makabayan bloc said the negotiated contract to refurbish the PCOS machines given to Smartmatic violates the Government Procurement Act.
Rep. Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna), senior deputy minority leader in the House, said in the statement that the choice of Smartmatic for the contract to refurbish PCOS machines “closed that small window of transparency.”
Rep. Terry Ridon (Kabataan) in the same statement said unresolved questions on PCOS machines should have raised red flags against the award of the contract to Smartmatic.
Rep. Luz Ilagan (Gabriela) said Comelec should not just dismiss objections made by technical experts, belonging to groups criticizing the PCOS system.
The new contract given to Smartmatic, she said, “will seriously affect the credibility of the upcoming presidential elections.” Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao
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