Lack of source code review delays poll preps

Posted at 01/09/2013 4:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections suffers a delay in the implementation of its preparations for the automated elections in May because of a delay in the review of the source code that will run the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

In a minute resolution published on the Comelec website, the poll body approved the election records and statistics department's recommendation for a revision of the implementation calendar, citing the failure of Smartmatic to submit the source code for review to Systest labs.

"Adjustments have been made particularly on the TEC certification on the implementation calendar, and its corresponding effect on the other dependencies for the said certification. Also the periods for the procurement of [automated election system] related goods and services have been adjusted to reflect its synchronization with the other timeline activities of the project management office,” the resolution read.

Under the revised timeline, TEC certification is set to finish on February 12, with the final trusted built scheduled on January 14, 2013. Configuration, which involves the design of the ballots, will run from January 11 to February 4. Mock elections to test the machines are scheduled on January 26.

Smartmatic, however, appeared to be confused by the resolution.

In a statement, Smartmatic President Cesar Flores said “Systest Labs has received the source code as early as  2011 and the review is already finished. SLI is currently in the Philippines to finalize the process of the trusted built in front of political parties and Comelec.”

“We at Smartmatic are not aware of delays in the implementation calendar of Comelec. The enhancements have already been certified. SLI is now delivering to Comelec the documents,” he added.

Chairman Sixto Brillantes maintained this does not upset the preparations for the polls, and neither will it mean a return to manual elections.

He said they will start source code review soon.

"Source code mag-uumpisa na rin kami ngayon. Nandito na SLI. SLI is the certifying authority from Denver. We start source code review with [consolidation and canvassing system]. CCS wala kami problema. Source code sa PCOS machine may issue,” he said, referring to Smartmatic's ongoing legal collection case from Canada-based Dominion which supplied the PCOS machines software to Smartmatic.

The Comelec chief believes a provisional resolution on the case, pending in a Delaware tribunal, is expected soon.

"May mangyayari siguro within the next few days…We shall proceed with automated elections,” he said.

The poll chief maintained that on their end, Comelec has only yet to define who are entitled to do the source code review.