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All set for polls – Comelec

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Despite persistent concerns about possible mechanical glitches and violence, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday all is set for the midterm polls on May 13.

“Everything that happened in 2010, we have already solved these problems. All the things critics have been saying have been addressed,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said yesterday.

“What we can do now, since everything is already set, is to ask for everyone to pray so that we can really have a successful and problem-free election on May 13,” he added.

Brillantes said all efforts have been exerted to ensure the success of the coming elections. Proof that everything is in order, he said, is the success of the final testing and sealing (FTS) of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

“The fact that the problem of the FTS did not see a repeat proves that we did something to correct the problems in 2010,” Brillantes pointed out.

An FTS days before the 2010 elections detected misconfigured compact flash cards, prompting the Comelec and automated poll system service provider Smartmatic-TIM Corp. to replace close to 80,000 CF cards nationwide.

The Comelec expects the majority of the 77,829 clustered precincts spread in 36,772 voting centers nationwide to complete their FTS on schedule today. Some precincts encountered minor glitches after conducting FTS.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal, meanwhile, challenged critics of the Comelec’s precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to let FTS procedure determine whether the system could be relied upon.

“Information Technology experts critical of the PCOS will be doing a great service to the nation if they could prove their vaunted claim that the PCOS system could be hacked, or its results could be tampered with,” Macalintal said.

“If everything turns out right or no major glitches occurred during such testing, these IT experts and critics of PCOS should be honest enough to admit their wrong impression or analysis of the PCOS and show their support to the Comelec for a successful, clean and credible election on May 13,” he said.

In Pampanga, PCOS machines are set for dry run today for “fine-tuning and familiarization,” said Comelec provincial chairman Fernando Cot-om.

“The PCOS machines have been transported direct to polling places and will remain there until election day,” Cot-om said. There are 501 polling places in the province.

At least 1,200 policemen and soldiers have been fielded to secure voting places in the province, Senior Superintendent Oscar Albayalde said. Ric Sapnu

BRILLANTES COMELEC COMELEC CHAIRMAN SIXTO BRILLANTES FERNANDO COT IN PAMPANGA INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LAWYER ROMULO MACALINTAL PCOS RIC SAPNU SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT OSCAR ALBAYALDE
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