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25 PCOS machines malfunction in 3 cities

MANILA, Philippines - At least 25 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in three cities malfunctioned during the final testing earlier this month, officials said yesterday.

Caloocan Commission on Elections (Comelec) chief Patrick Enaje told The STAR at least seven machines “refused to boot up or open so we decided to have them replaced.”

He said the city government is “all set” for the elections on Monday as replacements are about to be delivered and contingency machines have been turned over to them.

Enaje added that the seven machines represent a small percentage of the 301 PCOS machines that will be used for the polls.

In Quezon City, 14 PCOS machines will be replaced by the local Comelec office due to problems encountered in the final testing and sealing held earlier this month.

Two PCOS machines each malfunctioned in the first, second, and fourth districts. Five machines failed in the third district and three in the sixth district.

Most of the PCOS machines that malfunctioned encountered startup problems. A machine in District 3 had a battery problem, while another failed to read some of the ballots during the testing.

A PCOS machine at the Old Balara Elementary School, also in District 3, malfunctioned after the testing. Election officers said they smelled something burning in the machine.

District 1 election officer and chairman of the city board of canvassers Jovencio Balanquit said they have already requested for the replacements, which will be tested and sealed immediately upon arrival.

He said they have not encountered any problem in preparing for the May 13 polls aside from the said problems on PCOS machines.

More than a million voters are currently registered in Quezon City. They are divided into 1,266 clustered precincts, and will vote in 168 polling centers.

In Malabon, election officer Michael Fojas told The STAR that four PCOS machines malfunctioned when they were tested on May 6.

Two of the replacements arrived yesterday, while the other two have yet to be delivered, he said.

The Comelec has yet to release the total number of defective PCOS machines nationwide.

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