Comelec to begin bidding for poll machines next month

Posted on February 09, 2012

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) plans to start the bidding for new poll counting machines next month in preparation for the next national elections.

In a statement, Senator Aquilino Martin "Koko" D.L. Pimentel III, electoral reforms and people’s participation committee chairman, said the poll body is planning to begin bidding for counting machines, as they need to have "at least 125,000 PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines for the 2013 elections."

The Senate body conducted a technical working group on electoral reforms yesterday.

"The poll body will either lease brand new counting machines or purchase the machines that the poll body leased from Smartmatic International Corp. in the 2010 polls," Commissioner Lucenito N. Tagle said in the statement.

It was also learned in the statement that the Comelec will "maximize the use of PCOS machines by having two clustered polling precincts share" one counting machine, as they have an "insufficient budget" for the next national elections.

But the poll body clarified that they "would not allow 1,000 voters to be in a clustered precinct," the statement read.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pimentel said in the same statement that the poll body should improve the "application, efficiency and transparency" of the PCOS machines.

The lawmaker has rolled out an initiative dubbed "i-PCOS" or the Improved PCOS machines, the statement said.

"i-PCOS is a call to the Comelec as well as a challenge for it to do a better job of guarding and ensuring the integrity of the will of the Filipino," Mr. Pimentel said.

"Respect the automated election law by observing all the minimum system requirements and allow freely source code review."

The electoral reforms and people’s participation committee was revived after Mr. Pimentel replaced former senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri who quit over a case of fraud in the Senate electoral tribunal. -- Antonio Siegfrid O. Alegado