Press Release
February 27, 2010

Last batch of PCOS arriving today

Sen. Chiz Escudero today said that the source codes must be opened for checking by concerned sectors as the Comelec awaits the arrival of the last batch of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines today.

A total of 13,580 PCOS machines will arrive today completing the 82,200 ordered by the Comelec.

Escudero, chairman of the Oversight Committee on Poll Automation said Comelec must now allow an open review of the source codes under less stringent procedures.

"As the software that dictates the delicate functions of the PCOS such as counting, canvassing and electronic transmission, source codes must be made open for review to the public and not in a closed, overly controlled environment."

Comelec said that the public review of the source codes will be made open to parties with credentials or proven track record for reviewing software. To avoid leakage, a read-only copy of the source code will be provided on secured Comelec workstations in a secured facility.

Escudero said it is due diligence on Comelec's part to ensure that there is no leakage in the conduct of source code review. He however said that the review is only half the battle.

"Comelec must also make the installation of the PCOS machines open to the candidates and parties in the interest of transparency."

He said this is also crucial in ensuring that the source codes tested for review in select PCOS are also the actual source codes which will be installed in all 76,000 PCOS machines all over the country.

"We might have the reviewed and tested source codes in the safety of the Comelec's vault but how are we to know if these are the same ones which will be transferred and installed in all the PCOS?"

Escudeo added questions and concerns on the conduct of an automated poll are still left unanswered. He called on the Comelec to make its processes and methodologies transparent to the public to cast away doubts about their ability and capacity to conduct a clean and honest automated election.

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