Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Automated systems operate on the basis of trust. That’s why extensive and thorough testing often precedes massive deployment of any automated system. ATM machines would not be as successful and ubiquitous as they are today if, during its initial rollout, debits and cash disbursements were erroneous.

The glitch in the testing of PCOS machines yesterday irreversibly crushes the people’s trust that the system badly needs. Errors in feeding of ballots, or even in transmissions are bad enough, but forgivable. But errors in counting are simply unacceptable.

Even if COMELEC is successful in recalling, reconfiguring, and redeploying the 76,000+ flash cards – a daunting task in and of itself - these need several test runs to regain the people’s trust and confidence.

With less than a week to go, there is simply no time. It would be foolish for COMELEC to proceed with the automation without the trust of candidates and voters. Every losing candidate would demand a recount, by simply claiming a possible glitch in the PCOS.

There is so much at stake in the coming May elections. And we cannot afford to run an election devoid of any credibility.

The Black and White Movement appeals with the highest sense of urgency that COMELEC abandon the use of PCOS machines in the coming elections and revert to the manual system. It may take longer to determine the results, but it is much better than producing results in a day or two that no one will believe anyway.