Sen. Marcos alarmed over technical glitches in Comelec’s automated voting system

11 February 2016

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today expressed alarm over reports the Commission on Elections IComelec) is having technical glitches, particularly in the software controlling its automated voting system.

The Comelec earlier bared that 1 to 2 percent of ballots were rejected by vote-counting machines during a ballot verification test conducted earlier this week.

With around 50 million ballots slated for printing, such rejection rate could mean 500,000 up to 1 million ballots may be rejected by the automated counting machines.

In a press briefing at the residence of La Union Rep. Victor Ortega in San Fernando City, Marcos admittted the Comelec’s software woes is a cause for concern to him.

“Yes it does. It always does every time the Comelec, yung kanilang paghanda sa halalan ay hindi smooth ang pagtakbo e syempre lahat kami (mga kandidato) nag-aalala,” said Marcos.

Marcos said the technical glitch may turn out to be simple and easy to fix but it is an important matter since it involves software that would determine the validity of the ballots.

“Even yung sinasabing possible delay sa ibang lugar me potential for abuse yan kaya’t kailangan talangang bantayan,” Marcos said.

Despite his concern over the technical problem Marcos does not want to jump into any conclusions, particularly on suspicions it could be part of a ploy to rig or influence the results of the 2016 elections.

“E yun ang gusto naming malaman. Sa palagay ko, so far, wala naman kaming makita na ganun. So we just continue to pay attention to what is happening,” he said.

Marcos said that something “as logistically complicated” in the automated elections, it is inevitable that some form of problem will arise, noting the Comelec would use around 60,000 Precinct Count Optical Scanners (PCOS) in the May 20106 polls.

“We just have to make sure na kung magkaproblema man ay mabilis nilang maayos-that’s the main thing. Kung mabilis nilang maayos then that's much better kesa nakabitin hindi malaman kung talaga bang eto ay problema o hindi; eto ba ay ibig sabihin me gumagalaw na hindi maganda,” he said.

“But so far I thinks we’re doing okay,” Marcos added.

As far as measures to ensure the integrity of the 2016 polls Marcos believes the “transparency server” would be an effective one.

“Mabuti naman at ibinalik yung transparency server. So bumalik tayo sa dating sistema na tatlo ang transmittal: isa sa municipality, isa sa Comelec, isa sa transparency server para sa quick count, sa PPCRV (Paris Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting), para sa mga television,” said Marcos.

Ultimately, Marcos says the best guard against cheating is vigilance.

“That’s why we are telling our supporters bantayan nyo na mabuti dahil pagka maraming nakabantay, maraming mata ang tumitingin ay mas mahirap talagang gumawa ng kalokohan,”he said.