It was said that as of 23 May 2013 – no less than some ten days after the midterm election – out of more than 78,000 PCOS machines, there were still more than 18,000 of them that have not yet transmitted the vote counts as expected and required. Strange but true: The supposed electronic quick count machines have been precisely very slow in making and transmitting the counts – not to say anything about the many doubts and big question earnestly raised by IT experts plus civic groups about their counting accuracy. So is it that the allegedly much superior and thus likewise rather expensive foreign made counting machines leave much to the imagination such as what they really do and how such is done. These observations are painful – but true.
The use of the now famous – or infamous – PCOS began in the presidential election of 2010. It continued in the midterm election of 2013 – with the option to do the same in the forthcoming baranggay election this year. And who knows, the same machines could again be used in the presidential election of 2016. And who knows what the pertinent UN human rights office would do with the complaints brought before it by the above said groups from the Philippines denouncing the use of the so-called “Precinct Count Optical Scanners” that are suspect in their fabrication, consequent operation and supervision. So is it that lately there was even the added allegation made about some kind of a predetermined 60/30/10 percent division and distribution of votes among the three sections of the political party-affiliations that took part in the last election.
The PCOS were expensive to buy, expensive to house, and also expensive to maintain. So it is that some jokes came to fore in terms of getting rid of them one way or another – and let the elections return to manual counting as done for so many decades before. So what if there is cheating in the manual count of votes – considering that there is also perceived cheating in their machine count? It is fervently suggested that the following have to go hand-to-hand with the manual count of votes: One, an abacus for a fast and accurate recounting. Two, a trash fire for sending the vote counts through smoke signals. Three, a stand-by “unli” cellphone for counterchecks if needed.
Whether the joke is simply ridiculous – or downright painful especially for the hardworking people at the COMELEC – the gist of the comedy scene only means one and the same thing: The PCOS was a big problem in 2010. The said PCOS continued to be a huge problem this 2013. The same PCOS might test too much the patience and understanding of the Filipinos such that they might then claim their sovereignty – as provided by their own Constitution – against fraudulent elections. And such would no longer be but a joke.