The Commission on Elections is set to purchase some innovative and new PCOS machines, in time for the upcoming presidential elections in 2016. According to its chair, Sixto Brillantes,

We need to buy brand new counting machines because we are no longer sure the old Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS machines) which are stored in an air-conditioned warehouse can deliver 100% accuracy.

This was what Brillantes divulged to the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms during their hearing last Monday. In the said committee hearing, the Comelec chairman has said that a part of the Php 18-billion election budget will be used for the machines’ Optical Mark Reader; while the remaining amount of Php 8-billion will be spent for other election-related necessities just like some sophisticated softwares.

This is one of the numerous PCOS machines to be purchased by COMELEC soon.

This is one of the numerous PCOS machines to be purchased by COMELEC soon.

On the other hand, the old machines that were used in the previous elections are to be disposed soon because these technological innovations are only good for two to three elections only. However, Brillantes said that he would still use the old machines in the event that the committee will not grant his request. In lieu of his proposal, he further stressed that

With a presidential election coming, we would want to ensure that everything is okay. A way for us to ensure this is to purchase all brand-new PCOS machines. Mas maganda na bago ang gamitin natin kaysa luma (It is better if we use new ones rather than the old.

Along this juncture, Senator Koko Pimentel is strongly against the plan of Comelec to buy some new PCOS. Instead, the lawmaker is suggesting that the commission should go for a more reliable one. This is what he calls as direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines, or otherwise known as DRE. However, it is much more expensive than a PCOS machine. To date, a direct-recording electronic voting machine would cost around Php 60-billion because it utilizes a touchscreen kind of technology.

The proposal of Comelec to buy a new set of PCOS machines is in truth and in deed not a practical thing to do. However, if these electoral machines will excellently ensure the factors of reliability and accuracy then there’s nothing wrong with the said double-edged proposition of Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes.

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