Press Release
May 28, 2014

Has poll body looked at other technologies? he asks
Koko asks Comelec to submit a full report on the PCOS

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said the Commission on Elections should "take a look at other possible technologies or systems" and determine their viability as replacement for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the 2016 elections.

"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."

Despite complaints raised in the past two elections about the ballot-reading machines' reliability, Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes told a congressional committee hearing on Monday that it was time to replace the old PCOS machines that Smartmatic supplied to the 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, he told the committee on suffrage and electoral reforms at the House of Representatives.

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.

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