Two lawmakers have defended the accuracy of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used during the past two elections as they hit out at “nuisance election watchdogs” who are out to derail next year’s national and local polls.
Congressmen Noel Villanueva of Tarlac and Ashley Acedillo of Magdalo party list took up the cudgels for the Commission on Elections which came under criticisms from these “watchdogs.”
Villanueva denounced the “advocates” for mounting a “well-oiled black propaganda” against Comelec for its decision to use its more than 81,000 PCOS machines for May polls next year.
“These critics have in their hands bare assertions which do not deserve any attention at all. If they cannot show competent proof that the PCOS are not worthy of trust they should shut their mouth,” Villanueva said..
Villanueva’s statement came as certain groups such as the Automated Election System Watch (AES-Watch), Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PhCERT) and Citizens for Clean and Credible Election (C3E), led by ousted Comelec Commissioner Augusto Lagman called for a return to the age-old system of manual voting and manual counting of votes.
Sources said that these groups have used “talking heads” who are mostly former government officials, including former Comelec commissioners, to attack the credibility of PCOS as they have been promised to be given juicy positions in the next administration, especially if they are able to champion their cause.
This was confirmed by no less than Comelec Chair Sixto Billiantes Jr. who also said the same group was responsible for a media blitz pressing for a return to manual counting of votes after the IT companies they supported were rejected by the Comelec earlier.
Brillantes also pointed out that Smartmatic’s PCOS machines are used in the United States and are expected to last 17 or even 25 years.
Villanueva said the pseudo-watchdogs have failed to provide any proof of the alleged “electronic fraud” against the PCOS and have acted more like “nuisance candidates.”
“If they cannot show competent proof that the PCOS are not worthy of trust, they should shut their mouth,” Villanueva said, adding that Lagman’s group are doing great disservice to our country.
Villanueva added “there is no truth that PCOS results can be sold or bought otherwise.”
For his part, Acedillo seconded Brillantes’ position on the ruling of the Comelec to tap Smartmatic to service the 80,000 PCOS machines.
“Considering lesser cost, lesser time required, and lesser complications arising from parts/components issues, Brillantes made a very good decision in tapping Smartmatic,” Acedillo said.
He added that 2016 is just around the corner, and so a replacement system to the PCOS machines cannot be procured in time for the next elections. “Automated elections are still the way to go.”