May 13, 2013
Poll watchdog Kontra Daya said that initial data indicate that around 60% of poll problems monitored by the group are related to malfunctioning precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. Kontra Daya based its estimate on reports received by the group through its Twitter account and does not yet include other cases reported through other media. Updates via the group’s hotlines continue to come in as of this writing.
The group pointed that this contradicts the claim of Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes that PCOS problems are not that prevalent. “Taxpayers paid P1.8 billion for these PCOS machines. The fact that we are seeing numerous cases of PCOS failures, malfunctions and delays only underscores the long-held observation that we were duped by Smartmatic. Comelec allowed the electorate to be shortchanged. This should be the last time we use these machines,” said Dr. Gani Tapang, a co-convenor of Kontra Daya.
Kontra Daya said that the massive cases of PCOS problems further affirm the accountability of the Comelec and its foreign partner Smartmatic, the private vendor of the PCOS machines, for undermining the country’s elections through their deeply flawed automated election system (AES).
PCOS problems monitored by Kontra Daya in various precincts nationwide, range from failure to initialize, ballot rejection, and unexplained shutdown, among others. “In some cases, election inspectors had to be creative just to fix the technical problems encountered by the machines. We have monitored a report from Iloilo, for instance, that the BEI had to use a broom to help the PCOS machine accept the ballots. In other cases, the BEI had to trim the ballots so they will fit into the machine. This is unacceptable and Brillantes should not just dismiss the problem as minor hitches,” Kontra Daya spokesperson Fr. Joe Dizon said.
Dizon added that the PCOS problems resulted in long queues and overcrowded precincts that forced many voters to leave without voting. “This is disenfranchisement, plain and simple,” argued Dizon.
“Our experience with the PCOS reinforces the call to abandon the foreign-controlled Smartmatic AES,” he added.
Other major problems monitored by Kontra Daya include the switching of ballots intended for precincts in Benguet and Compostela Valley. The incident affected 858 voters from Clustered Precint 22 at Brgy. Gabi Elementary School, Compostela, Compostela Valley and an undetermined number of voters in Benguet’s Clustered Precinct 122 at Rizal Elementary School in Baguio City. Voting has been temporarily suspended in both precints.
Aside from PCOS problems, Kontra Daya also monitored classic cases of alleged vote buying and fraud in various precincts. Initial reports claim that candidates give away cash ranging from P100 to as much as P3,000 per voter.
Visit our monitoring page (https://kontradaya.org/monitoring-page/) for detailed reports of specific cases monitored by Kontra Daya nationwide.