THE head of the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines said he favors a review of the counting machines used in the country’s first computerized general elections.
Cebu Archbishop and CBCP President Jose Palma said the performance of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that were used in the 2010 election would be taken up by the bishops to see whether these machines are fit for use in the 2013 elections.
“I’m sure when we come together in January, one of the concerns of CBCP will be the evaluation of the PCOS machines. The issue will be evaluated because people including many among us have reasons to believe that there were a lot of defects in the PCOS machines,” Palma said in a press conference where he read his New Year’s message.
Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano disagreed with observations that PCOS machines were unreliable.
Castillano said the Commission on Election (Comelec) will even put additional features in the PCOS machines to enhance its security and integrity for the 2013 elections.
“We will assure the public that the Comelec will not agree to use defective PCOS machines. We cannot gamble with the integrity of the election,” Castillano said.
Castillano said that accusations in the last 2010 elections that the PCOS machines were used in cheating were not proven.
Meanwhile, Palma told reporters that Philippine bishops would not come up with a list of candidates to be be voted or not voted for based on the stand of legislators on the Reproductive Health law, which the Church vehemently opposes.
“The bishops and the priests should never be partisan. We will not endorse a party officially. We will not”, he said.
On the iquestion on whether a Catholic vote exists, Palma’s replied “yes and no.”
‘No’ because the Catholic church will not give a list of candidates that should be voted on.
But ‘yes’ because the Catholic church will encourage Catholics to discern and not to leave God at home when they go to the voting places.”
“Why was there not much impact before? I do not know yet, perhaps the Catholic vote was not that united… I really do not know.
“But my point is that especially now, we should not underestimate the Catholic vote,” Palma added. /Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondent