Comelec blames weak telecom signals for transmission delays

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Some 18,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines covering about 23 percent of the total clustered precincts experienced transmission problems on Election Day because of weak signals, Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said on Thursday.

PCOS transmission problems. Photo by MARIO IGNACIO IV/VERA Files

“It is not the PCOS that’s defective. It is the heavy traffic, the transmission problem. Busy ang linya, tama iyon (Lines were busy. That’s correct),” he said, adding that other areas had no signal at all so the poll body had to use Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellites to transmit election results in remote areas.

Alam namin na walang signal (We knew there was no signal) even before the elections but we did not announce it in public because that will create problems. Now, we will announce it,” said Brillantes who explained that network signals from telecommunications providers only covered 63% of the total.

Telecoms giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) earlier said their fixed and mobile networks were fully functional throughout the electoral exercise.

Disputing previous claims by Brillantes that weak signals were slowing the transmission of certificates of canvass from provinces to the national board of canvassers in Manila, PLDT said in a statement immediately after the elections that transmissions sent through their network were promptly delivered to the Comelec and to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, which conducted an unofficial parallel count.

Meanwhile, the 23 percent untransmitted certificates of canvass reported by Comelec matches the figure reported by the PPCRV. The poll body’s citizens’ arm said its transparency server received only 76 percent of total election returns while it was conducting it unofficial count. --Mikha Flores, VERA Files

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true”.)

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