Election commissioners Grace Padaca and Louie Guia thanked the members of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) for their support in the conduct if the just-concluded mid-term elections. Padaca, a former broadcaster, and Guia, who was just appointed to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), appeared as guests in the KBP’s General Membership meeting last May 22 at the Crown Plaza Hotel.
Padaca said that despite although the COMELEC and the KBP’s were at odds with each other on the limits on political ads, the broadcast media continued to come out with public service messages encouraging the people to go out and vote and informing the public on the election rules and resolutions promulgated by the COMELEC.
Guia also lauded the role of the media in disseminating important information on the election to ensure transparency and honesty. He said that the COMELEC and the broadcasting community are partners in bringing about clean and honest elections. He said: “Whatever the shortcomings of the COMELEC in the last elections, these should be studied so that the partnership between COMELEC and broadcast media can be improved.”
Answering questions from KBP members, Padaca and Guia clarified issues arising out of the 2013 elections. The following is a rundown.
1. On the reported failure of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to transmit the election returns.
Guia said the failure to transmit by some PCOS machines was not due to defects in the machines themselves but due either to weak signal or someone blocking the signal. (Note: Both Globe Telecom and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. disputed the claim).
2. On alleged switching of compact flash (CF) cards.
Guia said it’s not possible for CF cards to be switched because the counting process is open to the public. He said that the removal and transfer of CF cards from one PICOS machine can be observed by everyone. He also said that the CF cards are encrypted with an electronic security protection and only CF cards coming from the PICOS machine can be transmitted and recognized by the canvassing machine.