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Chiz to Comelec: Check PCOs just to make sure

Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero has urged the Commission on Elections to set a definite date for the review of the source code for the 80,000  precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. “I have maintained that the source code for the 80,000 PCOS machines must be opened for checking by political parties and technology experts which is required under the Automated Polls Law,” Escudero said. He warned that the absence of source code could be a major source of uncertainty for the May 13 elections. The Comelec, Escudero said,  should set a definite date for the review of the source code instead of giving a daily rundown on the progress it has achieved in obtaining the code from its owner the US-based Dominion Voting Systems, which is an action that Comelec should have done much earlier. “The statement of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. that he is 95 percent certain of obtaining the source code from Dominion does not offer much consolation to those seeking to review the code this close to the elections date,” the reelectionist senator said. Brillantes for his part had explained that a court dispute in Delaware between Dominion and PCOS supplier Smartmatic had resulted in the delay of the release of the source code. The Comelec had fixed the review of the code for the consolidation and canvassing system (CCS) next week but not the PCOS source code with Brillantes merely saying that a “big press conference” will be held to announce when the review will be held. The Automated Poll Law provided that the source code should be reviewed by independent parties three months prior to the elections. Almost a month to the 2013 midterm polls, Brillantes said that obtaining the code was 95 percent sure but he said a few details still needed ironing out. Escudero said that while he has full confidence in the Comelec to hold credible elections, an unverified source code can be a point of protest particularly among losing candidates that may cause major post-election problems. He said questions and concerns on the credibility of the elections in May will be soothed only if Comelec finally let the source code be subjected to reviews.
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