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PCOS out in barangay, SK elections

The Commission on Elections has decided not to use the controversial precinct count optical scan  or PCOS machines for the village and youth council elections in October. Commissioner Lucenito Tagle said the poll body made the decision because it lacked time. “Back to manual and we’re now working for the calendar of activities,” Tagle said. The Comelec started preparing for the next elections this year by appointing election director Bartolome Sino Cruz as head of the Project Management Office for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. The commission initially planned to hold the Oct. 28 village and youth council polls using the PCOS machines in selected areas, particularly in Metro Manila. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body was “still studying the possibility of a PCOS pilot.” The registration of voters will resume on July 1, and the biometrics system will be used as required by law to purge the list of voters. Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes earlier asked lawmakers to postpone the village and youth council polls, but veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the poll body had no authority to postpone or re-schedule the elections. Macalintal said any law postponing the elections would still violate the law. “Kahit ang batas na iyan ay lalabag pa rin sa Saligang Batas. Kasi ang ating Kongreso, bagamat binigyan ng kapangyarihan na siya ang magtakda kung kailan magkakaroon ng halalan ang barangay, hindi naman binigyan ng kapangyarihan na mag-extend ng term of office nila.” Brillantes suggested that the elections be moved to October 2014 or January 2015. He said moving the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to a later date would give the commission enough time to decide on the election protests filed in connection with the May 13 mid-term polls. Macalintal said any postponement would effectively extend the terms of office of all incumbent barangay officials. He said that would violate the Constitution because barangay officials needed the people’s mandate to enjoy a longer stay in their respective posts. “Pag in-extend mo sila, para mo na ring in-appoint sila. That involves 294,000 appointments,” Macalintal said.
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