June 3, 2013
Poll watchdog Kontra Daya today called on the public to stage mass protests to demand the junking of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) technology and to hold the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic International accountable for undermining the country’s elections.
Kontra Daya is organizing a protest action in front of the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila on Wednesday morning, June 5.
“We call on every one who thinks that we should no longer use the PCOS machines for the next elections and who believes that the Comelec and Smartmatic, the foreign vendor of these defective machines, should be made to account for their actions to join us,” Kotra Daya spokesperson Fr. Joe Dizon said.
The group made the call amid a series of developments that affirmed lingering and widespread doubts on the reliability and credibility of the PCOS machines. Last week, Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. admitted that there were discrepancies in the results of the random manual audit (RMA) and the tallies made by the PCOS machines. Earlier, Brillantes also admitted that 18,000 PCOS machines suffered transmission woes last May 13, or almost a quarter of the 78,000 PCOS machines deployed during the elections.
“These admissions are tell-tale signs that the PCOS machines and the ardent proponents of this highly flawed technology, namely the Comelec and Smartmatic, have further compromised the integrity of our long fraudulent and undemocratic elections. There’s no other way to look at it,” Dizon emphasized.
Dizon insisted that the attempts of Brillantes and Smartmatic to downplay these serious problems only increase their liability to the electorate and the general public. After admitting the discrepancies in the machine and manual count, Brillantes backpedalled and claimed that those were mere “variances” and should be expected. Meanwhile, the poll chief also blamed the weak signal of telecommunication firms for the transmission woes, which the latter vehemently denied.
“Brillantes and the Comelec should be made to account for insisting on this foreign-controlled and very expensive automation technology as well as for covering up its defects. They are also liable for choosing a type of automation that undercuts transparency and produces results that are unverifiable and for doing away with the basic safeguards mandated under the law such as the source code review,” said Dizon.
Kontra Daya said that the mass protests to junk the PCOS technology and to make Comelec and Smartmatic accountable should snowball to make an impact even as it vowed to use all available avenues, including the judicial and legislative arena. ###