It is a mystery that the local media seem to have fallen all over themselves to praise the “success” of poll automation.
At least some foreign observers have a different take. In part, they state:
The PCOS machines turned out to be overpriced lemons, agreed Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, chairperson of Bayan (New Patriotic Alliance) and convener of Pagbabago. “You don’t expect to see your newly-acquired expensive appliance to break down the moment you bring them home and start to use them,” said Araullo.
The PIOM documented the nationwide occurrence of breakdown of PCOS machines which can all be attributed to the Comelec’s and Smartmatic’s cost-cutting measures. In a a PIOM group’s interview with the Comelec director Emmanuel Ignacio in Tarlac, he admitted that 600 voters per machine are “more ideal” compared to 900 plus per machine. Ignacio told the PIOM only 1 modem per 3 precincts were allotted (and that explains why precincts were packed in the same schools). The PIOM group also learned that to further cut cost, the Smartmatic did not install cooling fans or cooling mechanisms in its PCOS machines, hence its proneness to break down from overheating.
Lemons? Overpriced? Should we be happy we don’t own the machines? Should we start looking at the anti-graft laws on contracts that are “disadvantageous” to government?
It is often said that success breeds success. Pretty soon we may hear some folks proposing we should “buy” the machines, on the theory that we had a “successful” automation, and we should do it again.
And the would-be cheats would have a field day. The next time they will know better how to convince potentially losing candidates that the former can, indeed, do some “magic.” After all it will be the same machine, the same CF cards, and, likely, a renegade machine can be made available for “demonstration” purposes.