Return to manual election count pushed

Posted on March 11, 2014

A PARTY-LIST lawmaker yesterday urged for the shift back to manual voting in the coming 2016 national elections citing several reported glitches in the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines encountered during the last two national polls.

In a press conference yesterday, independent minority bloc member and party-list Rep. Jose L. Atienza, Jr. called on his fellow legislators to support the pending proposed measure which will bring back the manual method of counting the votes during elections.

The former Manila mayor explained that "with an automated style of counting in the precinct level, people are deprive to physically participate in the counting process."

Mr. Atienza noted that though the measure will bring back the so-called "old style" of counting, that does not mean that it will slow down the process.

He said the automated process will still be used during the canvass and transmission of votes in the national level.

Meanwhile, independent minority bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (1st district) said he will call for an immediate investigation into the discovery of vertical lines on ballots used in last year’s midterm elections.

This as he expressed his alarm in the so-called "vertical lines" which he claimed may have altered the actual results of last year’s election. "The Commission on Elections (Comelec) must explain what the smudges are? What caused them and the lines, and what is the people’s guarantee that these did not alter or cheat the candidates out of the true results of the polls?," Mr. Romualdez said.

He added that he will push for an immediate inquiry at the House of Representatives to determine if the PCOS machines are still credible and safe to use in the coming 2016 national elections.

The Comelec was not immediately available for comment. But in previous occasions, the poll body has upheld the credibility of the automated elections. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin