Poll chief’s biggest worry on May 13

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr says he's confident about PCOS machines. He's worried about something else.

'BIGGEST WORRY.' Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr says he's worried about something else other than the PCOS. File photo by John Javellana

MANILA, Philippines – It’s not the ballot-counting machines that the poll chief is most worried about. 

In a phone interview aired on Rappler, poll chief Sixto Brillantes Jr said he worries most about the teachers who will operate the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines on May 13. He said he is ”no longer worried” about the PCOS, which, according to the Comelec, has gotten crucial improvements.

“My worry is more of the small problems regarding our training,” Brillantes told Rappler’s Maria Ressa on Friday, May 10.

Brillantes cited reports that some boards of election inspectors (BEIs) who come from teachers’ ranks “were not really that good” in operating the PCOS. He said the Comelec is conducting crash courses to ensure that those who have encountered problems will operate the PCOS smoothly on May 13.

“This is my worry, but not really that big,” Brillantes said in the interview, which was part of Rappler’s live #PHvote coverage on Friday.

During the final testing and sealing (FTS) of PCOS machines, some glitches came up supposedly due to poor training.

In Davao City, protests erupted because of an election officer’s remarks about BEIs. Lawyer Aimee Perolino Ampoloquio, an election officer in Davao City, criticized teachers who experienced difficulties operating PCOS machines.

“It’s either they are forgetful or they are stupid,” Ampoloquio said.

Teachers later demanded a public apology. Several of them said they will boycott the elections if Ampoloquio refuses to say sorry.

Based on information from Brillantes’ office, Davao’s regional election director has issued the teachers an apology. –


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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior multimedia reporter covering religion for Rappler. He also teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. For story ideas or feedback, email