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The PCOS Saga: Happy Ending or May God Help Us All?
We trace the events that had us all wondering if the controversial voting machines would deliver or conk out. Will we get a happy ending or glitches ever after?
Published on: May 10, 2010 - 11:41am
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This year, the country geared up for its first automated elections. But our preparations hit major bumps because the voting machine—“the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS)—“encountered glitches. It didn't help that most of the PCOS problems came up at the last minute. SPOT.ph traces the PCOS events that had us all at the edge of our seats.

DECEMBER 28, 2009. After a delay, 7,000 of the 82,000 ordered PCOS machines finally start arriving in the country. The Barbados-based Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. (TIM) subcontracted a firm in China to produce the machines.


JANUARY 27, 2010. All things seem to go well at the first PCOS field test at the Taguig Elementary School.


JANUARY 29, 2010. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-TIM deal with ballot rejection and inability to transmit data in their field test at the Aguho Elementary School in Pateros.


APRIL 28, 2010. Delivery of PCOS machines to Metro Manila delayed. The machines were allegedly stuck at Smartmatic-TIM's Cabuyao, Laguna warehouse. It is not clear why the delivery was postponed.


MAY 1, 2010. It is revealed that the Comelec ordered excess PCOS machines. The more that 6,000 spare units made many concerned groups edgy. There were speculations that the said machines would be used for cheating. The Comelec refutes these allegations.

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14 Comments
  • Newton
    @Einstein

    Ok ka lang pare? Ikaw kaya ang tumakbo. Baka Barangay Tanod hindi ka papasa. Pa idiot-idiot ka pa dyan.
    May 13 2010 @ 12:43am     Reply  
  • RestlessInBoston
    Who did you vote for Einstein? Chill Pare!
    May 12 2010 @ 09:09pm     Reply  
  • Einstein
    IDIOT CANDIDATES + IDIOT VOTERS= IDIOT NATION, need I say more?
    May 11 2010 @ 10:23pm     Reply  
  • Tita Aida
    @ igeramos, very touching piece. Hopefully, that comment will be archived for historical purposes.

    The future generation will revisit the archive when Baby James will run for President in the future. At that time, voting will be by mail, by texting, or by tweeting already. LOL

    Seriously, automation is the way to go. Automation, like concession, is old stuff outside the Philippines but the images shown on TV with the conduct of the election was very powerful.

    It is like the world watching a far-flung barrio in Tawi-Tawi that experienced electrical connection for the first time. Bravo Filipino!
    May 11 2010 @ 09:34pm     Reply  
  • Jun Pyo
    well, we all are in the digital age. the problem lies in the votes being cast. man, erap is #2, bong revilla, jinggoy and lito lapid most probably is going to be back to the senate? c'mon people, we can do better than this...
    May 11 2010 @ 06:23pm     Reply  
  • cher
    I'm from Taguig, and luckily the PCOS worked just fine in the precinct where my parents and sisters voted. My Dad initially didn't want to vote especially when he saw the long line. But we encouraged him to exercise his right even if we are supporting different presidentiables. He waited for a couple of minutes but he said he liked the new system. He said it's faster and he thinks it's more efficient.
    May 11 2010 @ 02:16am     Reply  
  • Hay naku
    Bwahahahaha!!!! Good luck is in order, I presume. It seems that Filipinos have not learned anything. What with Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid being re-elected is beyond me. AT si Erap. OMG! May possibility na manalo pa! ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES. Dami pa ring estufido sa 'Pinas! There's a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel if Aquino wins. ONLY if he does not break down and f*** up. PEace!
    May 11 2010 @ 12:28am     Reply  
  • igeramos
    Missing word:

    in 30 seconds the monitor blinked the word CONGRATULATIONS! My vote was confirmed and accepted.
    May 10 2010 @ 09:07pm     Reply  
  • igeramos
    From my FB shout out:

    I actually cried after voting. because today, I was able to assert my democratic right. The volunteers from our Barangay in Cavite City was very organized and efficient. They have a special queue for senior citizens, the disabled, pregnant women and two separate lines for the rest. It took us under 20 minutes to vote and there was optimism and general sense of wellbeing.

    As soon as my ballot went inside the PCOS machine, in 30 seconds the monitor blinked the word My vote was confirmed and accepted. I felt did a singular duty what was required of me by my country.

    I was with my 90 year old mom and I helped her cast her ballot. I asked her which party list she voted for? She told me she voted for Ang Ladlad. That declaration certainly put a lump in my throat.

    I thank the school teachers at Mababang Paaralan ng Ladislao Diwa in Cavite City (where I went for my Elementary education and mother was a former Principal). The PPCRV volunteers, Poll watchers, every one in the precinct for doing a fantastic job, for being very helpful. To our neighbors in Barangay 28, the subsistent fisherfolks of Aplayang Munti in Sta Cruz, Cavite City. It was nice to see Mang Lauro, the butcher and Teacher Vasquez. Going home softened me. It brought me hope once again.
    May 10 2010 @ 09:05pm     Reply  
  • gossipmonger
    the (busted) PCOS machine in my voting precinct just looked like a big black garbage bin. didn't experience the "automated (cheating) voting" tuloy.
    May 10 2010 @ 04:18pm     Reply  
  • SPOT.ph
    Thanks for spotting that, martinjg. :)
    May 10 2010 @ 01:22pm     Reply  
  • martinjg
    "DECEMBER 28, 2010. After a delay, 7,000 of the 82,000 ordered PCOS machines finally start arriving in the country. The Barbados-based Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. (TIM) subcontracted a firm in China to produce the machines."

    I Think that should be December 28, 2009.
    May 10 2010 @ 01:15pm     Reply  
  • Anna_bells
    The PCOS machines in QC were working fine this morning and the BIEs weren't taking breaks, but it just took sooo long. Took 4 hours to vote. Hope all the other areas are hassle-free.
    May 10 2010 @ 01:10pm     Reply  
  • Citizen Jane
    I go for May God help us all. My brother is stuck at a polling place in Laguna since the BEI daw dun has a lunch break. I got PPCRV's number dito sa guide ng SPOT.ph and PPCRV said dapat walang lunch break. BEIs are supposed to go on shifts if one takes lunch break. As for the PCOS...ewan.
    May 10 2010 @ 12:50pm     Reply  
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