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60 controversial PCOS machines now in Senate custody

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60 controversial PCOS machines now in Senate custody

Post by Justin_Romile on Wed May 19, 2010 9:43 am

Update - 11:46 pm) Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile accepted the 60 controversial precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that were delivered to the Senate under heavy guard at 10:35 pm Tuesday after a one-hour trip from the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The machines, earlier discovered in the house of a Smartmatic technician in Antipolo and believed to have been used in committing poll fraud, were transported in a truck with heavily armed police and military escorts, radio dzBB reported. About 100 cars and four buses, many of them loaded with supporters of various national and local candidates, joined the delivery convoy.

Enrile personally met the arriving convoy, which included presidential candidates Sen. Maria Anna Consuelo Madrigal, Olongapo Councilor John Carlos de los Reyes, and environmentalist Nicanor Perlas, who claim the PCOS machines may provide evidence about poll fraud.

The machines were brought to the Claro M. Recto Room on the Senate's second floor, where they were stacked, listed by serial number, and sealed for storage, according to the radio dzBB report.

Enrile and Senate Sgt.-at-arms Jose Balajadia, the three presidential bets, and Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials were present during the acceptance procedure.

In an earlier interview with reporters, Enrile said the Senate will be the custodian of the PCOS machines – used in the country’s first nationwide automated polls – “until the whole electoral issue is finished."

The Comelec had asked the Senate to act as custodian of the controversial machines, earlier erroneously reported as a total of 67 units, which were used in the country's first nationwide automated polls.

"We will take care of [the machines] and we’ll see to it that [these] are preserved and secured," the Senate leader said.

He said the machines will be stored in an area with security cameras “so that we will know who are approaching and who are entering or touching any of these materials."

Smartmatic technician Felipe de Leon last week brought the machines to his home, saying he was supposed to deliver them to the Antipolo Comelec office but were refused, so he brought them home to make sure these were safe.

The discovery of the machines in his possession sparked tension between high-strung supporters of rival mayoral candidates in Antipolo. [See: Discovery of 67 poll machines in Antipolo home triggers tension]

Smartmatic, the supplier of the voting machines, and the Comelec cleared De Leon saying he was just doing his job. [See: Comelec: Technician with 67 poll machines at home just doing his job]

The machines were then transferred to the Ynares Center, but supporters of losing mayoral candidate Angelito Gatlabayan and presidential candidates Madrigal, De los Reyes, and Perlas forcibly entered the storage room and asked their technicians to open the machines.

The Comelec deployed at least 400 soldiers and police to guard the machines.

As this developed, Smartmatic is thinking of filing criminal charges against Madrigal, Del los Reyes and Perlas for tampering with the machines without Comelec permission. [See: Smartmatic mulling case vs. three presidential candidates] —VS/JV GMANews.TV
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Justin_Romile

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