Useless trying to hack vote machines – Comelec

By Dateline Philippines

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Tuesday that politicians looking to manipulate the outcome of the May 10 polls would be better off if they “buy the elections” than try to hack the vote-counting machines.

“You need a big amount of money and a lot of time to hack just one PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machine…How can you hack 82,000 machines?” Comelec chairman Jose Melo said.

“Kung ako ang magko-corrupt diyan (elections), (sa halip na) iha-hack ko ang makina, eh di bibilhin ko na lang ang eleksyon. Bakit pa ako mandadaya (If I plan to corrupt the elections, rather than hack the machines, I might as well just buy the elections. Why would I still cheat)?” he said.

Makati Representative Teodoro Locsin Jr. agreed, saying it would be “virtually impossible” to tamper with the results through the machines.

“I urge, through media, I urge our candidates who want to cheat, please, please just buy votes because you would be just wasting your money if you try to cheat through the machines. You won’t be able do it,” Locsin said.

“It is really much, much better to buy votes. The only problem with buying voters, no you cannot buy the votes because you don’t have them, you can only buy the voter. But the problem with the voters is they don’t like to stay bought, so they will take your money and they might vote some other way, especially after the wonderful advice of our saintly and beloved (the late Jaime) Cardinal Sin, who said take the money and vote your conscience. I don’t think he should have said that,” added Locsin, chairman of the committee on suffrage and electoral reforms in the House of Representatives.

At the joint hearing of Locson’s committee and the House oversight committee Tuesday, Comelec commissioners and officials of Smartmatic Inc., the supplier of the PCOS machines, showed congressmen how the automated voting works.

Melo gave them assurances that everything is set for the country’s first automated elections.

“Let’s not debate whether we should automate or not. We are going to be automated,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of a failure of elections, he said: “I don’t entertain that idea that there would be failure of elections. There would be failure of elections (only) if we will be struck by an earthquake.”

Locsin said congressmen’s confidence that the automated elections would proceed smoothly was “raised tremendously” after they visited the government printing plant in Cabuyao, Laguna and saw how the ballots were produced.

But Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez, chairman of the oversight committee, said while everything appears to be going smoothly, he was worried about the 300 municipalities not serviced by telecommunications providers Smart, Globe and Sun Cellular.

These areas will instead use VSAT facilities, which he said are not very reliable, to transmit election results.

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