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Comelec adopts Chiz's proposal to avoid trending of poll results

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday decided to make public 20 percent of the tallied polling precincts nationwide in the initial count of the votes reported during election day.

The Comelec moved to adopt the proposal of Sen. Francis Escudero, co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee, to prevent possible trending of election results.

The Comelec also announced that 70 percent of the 76,000 compact flash cards for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to be used for the elections tomorrow have been delivered nationwide.

Smartmatic spokesman Cesar Flores said they were able to deploy some 53,000 flash cards as of noontime yesterday.

“As of now municipalities in northern Luzon, Visayas and the National Capital Region (NCR) already have 85 percent of the cards delivered,” Flores announced at the press briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where the Comelec, as the National Board of Canvassers, will canvass the ballots for senators and party-list groups.

Flores said the teachers, serving as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI), would have to pick up the flash cards and insert them in the PCOS machines for the final testing and sealing.

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Flores said the latest reports they are receiving indicated that the testing of the PCOS machines went well with the reconfigured flash cards.

“We have zero reports of testing and sealing not working, that means that basically that the cards are fine … looking very well and promising. For sure more than 50 percent or close to 60 percent of the PCOS tested and sealed (yesterday) and the rest will be done (today),” Flores said.

The Comelec and the Smartmatic-TIM consortium were criticized last Monday after some of the PCOS machines being tested in Metro Manila had failed.

The glitches were later traced to misconfiguration of the flash cards that were not able to recognize some votes on the ballots.

Flores vouched for the integrity of the PCOS machines and even offered his Venezuelan passport as a guarantee that he would not evade responsibility if tomorrow’s elections fail because of technical glitches.

Flores also denied allegations that the PCOS machines powered Venezuela’s contentious presidential referendum in 2004.

Flores said the PCOS machines used in the elections in Venezuela are different, and assured the public that the PCOS machines that would be used for tomorrow’s elections would produce a copy of the vote.

“What I can say is the system is verifiable. It will be verified with random audit in precincts per district and canvassing will be verified by all the cities of the Philippines via the Internet, participation of media and (poll) watchdogs,” Flores said. – With Jaime Laude, Evelyn Macairan, Michael Punongbayan

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