Keep PCOS in precincts? Pay for it, Brillantes tells Gordon

MANILA, Philippines – Poll chief Sixto Brillantes Jr on Monday, May 27, said it is now impossible for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to heed a plea by defeated senatorial candidate Richard Gordon to keep ballot-counting machines in polling precincts.

Brillantes said the Comelec has already moved the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines from their precincts to their respective hubs.

With a hint of sarcasm, the poll chief said Gordon can do what he wants, but with a catch. “Kung gusto niya, isoli niya uli. Pero gastusan niya,” Brillantes said. (If he wants, he can bring back the PCOS machines. But he should shoulder the costs.)

In an urgent motion filed on May 22, Gordon asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Comelec from removing PCOS machines from the precincts. In a statement, the former senator, who lost in this year's elections, said this will “prevent anybody from tampering with the components, contents, and software encoded into the said machine.”

He said preserving the PCOS will show if the source code in the machines, is the same source code that the Comelec opened for review.

Last May 9, a week before the midterm elections, the Comelec opened the PCOS source code for review by local groups. By doing so, the poll body aimed to end apprehensions over the automated polls.

The source code review is supposed to determine the PCOS contains "malicious" codes, which could lead to cheating.

Watchdogs, however, said the 2013 source code review was too late to detect potential fraud. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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