MANILA – Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to submit full report on the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in the country’s last two elections.
Pimentel made his appeal after Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said in a recent House of Representatives public hearing that it is time to replace the old PCOS machines that Smartmatic supplied to Comelec.
Brillantes asked for at least P18 billion for the agency’s budget for the 2016 automated elections. Of this, some P10 billion would be set aside for the purchase of up to 121,800 brand-new PCOS units.
Brillantes told the committee that the risks would be less in 2016 by using brand-new machines. He did not elaborate.
Pimentel, who was a victim of dagdag-bawas in the 2007 senatorial elections, said Brillantes was proposing the same PCOS machines and not another technology.
“The Comelec wants to purchase new machines. They are still PCOS, using the same technology,” said Pimentel.
“We’d like the Comelec to tell us in a report if it has taken a look at other technologies or systems. If so, what are these technologies? Are they viable? How do they compare with the PCOS in reliability and speed of transmission?” added Pimentel.
Pimentel noted the absence of a comprehensive report by the Comelec on the current state of its 82,000 ballot-reading machines that were used in the 2010 and 2013 national elections.
He said the poll body should be forthright and transparent in informing the public if the PCOS are 100-percent reliable or are considered risky.
“How many of the PCOS are completely junk and useful only as source of parts?” asked Pimentel. “The Comelec should answer all these.”