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PIA Press Release

Comelec official says election failure scenario is impossible

by JMD Abangan

Tagum City (27 February) -- Davao del Norte provincial election supervisor and Commission on Election (COMELEC) XI assistant regional director Atty. Marlon Casquejo views the much feared failure of election as "impossible".

"Imposible nga naay failure (of election)," he said in an interview Thursday as he pointed out that the process of choosing candidates for would still be done manually.

The May 10, 2010 simultaneous national and local election is said to be automated but Casquejo pointed out that only the counting of votes and the transmission of election results would be automated.

He said glitches of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine or failure of its delivery to precincts would not be a hindrance that might cause failure of election because "we can still go on with manual voting."

Casting of votes would still go on because official ballots would be made ready to be filled up, though the counting of votes would be delayed.

"Pero pila ka oras lang, dili pila adlaw," he said as he explained that delays would take just hours and not several days.

Atty. Casquejo shared the contingency plan that COMELEC XI had mapped out in case PICOS machine would fail to operate and in case it could not be delivered due to certain circumstances.

COMELEC earlier assured to replace bogged down PCOS machine, and that a technician would just be within reach to fix technical glitches.

If ever no replacement would be found, clustered precincts with no PCOS still opens at 7:00 a.m. for casting of votes to go on, though filled up ballot cannot be fed for counting, Att. Casquejo explained.

When the precincts closes at 6:00 p.m., automated counting of votes proceeds, using the PCOS machine from nearby clustered precincts which shall have been through counting and transmitting of results.

"May delays, pero dili failure (of election)," Atty. Casquejo said.

To secure votes, ballots should not be transported to precincts with available PCOS machine. "Dili jud igawas ang balota. Ang ibalhin lang, ang machine," Atty. Casquejo said while ensuring that the transfer of PCOS machine would be made secured in cooperation with the armed forces and the police authorities.

Before counting starts at precincts with no assigned PCOS, the machine brought there for delayed counting, would be reconfigured to make sure that it would have zero base point before it starts counting, Atty. Casquejo said.

Davao del Norte has about 464,000 registered voters, needing a total of 620 PCOS.

Citing the regional level, Casquejo said COMELEC XI has yet to receive its needed PCOS, but it has units for road-show use only.

Meanwhile brushed off fears of failure to transmit election results saying broadband area network satellite will be installed in far-flung areas and in areas where there is no signal.

A survey has already been conducted, and that the municipalities of Kapalong, Talaingod, Asuncio and the city of Panabo are among the areas where satellite will be installed. (PIA-XI) [top]

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