Group gears up for protest outside Comelec

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MANILA, June 3, 2013— To oppose the use of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) technology in the next elections, a multi-sectoral poll watchdog has decided to hold protests in Manila on Wednesday.

Kontra Daya, composed of the clergy, teachers, information technology experts and activists, said the mass action will be held right in front of the Commission on Elections main office in Intramuros.

Activist priest Fr. Joe Dizon, Kontra Daya spokesperson, called on the public to join the protest to demand accountability from the Comelec and Smarmatic, Inc. for “undermining” the country’s elections.

“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,” 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 Chairman 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 said.

The priest insisted that the attempts of Brillantes and Smartmatic “to downplay these serious problems” only increase their liability to the electorate and the public.

After admitting the discrepancies in the machine and manual count, he said that Brillantes backpedalled, claiming 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,” said Dizon.

“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,” he added. (CBCPNews)

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