4 May 2010 – The reports about the failure of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to perform adequately in tests in several cities in Metro Manila confirm our worst fears, now egregiously manifested in local contests.
The Comelec proposes that a random manual audit (RMA) can detect machine failure as well as fraud. But the number of clustered precincts to be audited in the RMA proposed by the Comelec does not appear adequate. In section 7.b of their Resolution No. 8837, only 5 clustered precincts per district are to be audited. This is 5 out of an average of more than 330 clustered precincts per district, or only around 1.5%. The risk of not detecting machine failure or fraud is quite high.
We had offered our hand of assistance and support with a recommendation of a simple and doable process for auditing the PCOS machines. But the Comelec rejected our proposal with finality on April 29.
In the interest of salvaging the credibility of this election, we appeal to the Comelec to implement a manual count of the five positions prescribed in its own Resolution 8837, that is, those of President, Vice President, member of the House of Representatives, Governor, and Mayor, for all ballots in 100% of the clustered precincts. Complete sets of election forms for all precincts should be printed immediately. If the Comelec acts today, it is still not too late.