Press Release
January 30, 2010

Comelec dared to 'confess' on poll machines' reliability

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) must tell the truth whether it can hold clean and reliable elections using automated voting machines or not on the May 10 exercise, Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar said late Friday night on a television news show.

Villar's appeal to the Comelec was prompted by reports that the poll body's two field tests of its poll machines Friday failed to proceed smoothly.

During an interview by the anchors of News at Ten on ABC-5, Villar, who briefly took part in the show as newsreader, expressed alarm over the unreliability of the voting machines.

"Ako ay medyo takot sa automation na ito at nakita naman natin ang mga unang [field test] ay mukhang pumapalpak eh, at ito na nga ang aking pinangangambahan," Villar said.

On Friday, a Comelec team went to the Aguho Elementary School in Pateros to test a precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine only to find out the hi-tech device won't read four out of 10 valid sample ballots.

To make matters worse, three SIM (subscriber identity module) cards from three telecommunications networks used by the Comelec failed to transmit election results from the municipal precinct of Pateros to the Comelec national office and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

SIM card defect was also blamed on data transmission errors during a separate field test of another poll machine at the Pateros Elementary School also on Friday.

The embarrassing demonstrations of the poll machines were witnessed by at least three observers from the non-government Center for People Empowerment in Governance and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

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