Press Release
March 16, 2012


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today asked the Commission on Elections to stop any further payments to Smartmatic Corporation for the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines used in the 2010 national and local elections.

Pimentel suggested that any money due to Smartmatic for the use of the PCOS machines should be stopped as compensation for the state for the glitches which attended the 2010 elections coming from the Smartmatic-provided machines.

"It makes no sense to adopt the same poll automation technology in succeeding elections, particularly in 2013 and 2016, if the glaring defects of the PCOS system are not rectified this early," the senator said.

Pimentel said that while the nationwide automated 2010 national and local polls resulted in the speedy counting of the votes and the results were already known a few days after the actual voting, Information Technology experts had identified shortcomings in both the PCOS hardware and software that may have affected the results.

Pimentel noted that Smartmatic had refused to reveal the source code used for the PCOS system, citing the lack of proprietary rights.

The Comelec had only leased the PCOS machines from Smartmatic.

"Why did the Comelec deal with an entity which did not own the source code?" Pimentel said.

Smartmatic has asked the Comelec to purchase the PCOS machines used in 2010 at a big discount. The machines are still kept in warehouses up to now and Smartmatic says the government would be able to save big money by buying the used machines instead of using a new poll automation system.

Pimentel said that any decision on what automated system to be used in forthcoming elections should be based not only on financial considerations but also on accuracy and reliability.

"As a victim of dagdag-bawas in the 2007 senatorial elections, I want to ensure the sanctity of the ballot and the integrity of our electoral process. So let us think long and hard as to what system we should adopt," Pimentel said.

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