Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano said the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) will be asked to substantiate its claim that glitches found in the PCOS machines have been fixed when it exercised the option to purchase in the next hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System (JCOC-AES).
In addition, the vice chairperson of the JCOC-AES pointed out that the reported rift between PCOS-machine supplier Smartmatic and automation software supplier Dominion Voting Systems should be looked into as well.
He raised the concern that the legal conflict that ensued because of the termination of the license agreement between Dominion and Smartmatic could lead to serious potential problems that may force Comelec to decide to shift to manual voting in 2013.
“We cannot allow this to happen,” Cayetano said.
“So we want to know if automation really is possible in 2013 given the lingering issues involving Smartmatic and the PCOS machines to be used in the upcoming automated elections,” he added.
The minority leader said the discussions on critical issues he described as the “three crown jewels” of automated elections: machines, ballots, and transmission – may be academic if it turns out that Smartmatic and its PCOS machines cannot be utilized after all.
“It is imperative for both Comelec and Smartmatic to show that the automation system will function in spite of the legal case filed by Smartmatic against Dominion,” the senator said.
“I have exposed the overpricing of the warehouses involving Smartmatic and consequently, the price was renegotiated. The case, however, involving the software being used by Smartmatic and reportedly owned by Dominion, must be looked into carefully. I don’t care who the suppliers are. What I care about is that things are done correctly and that we will have a clean and honest elections,” he said.