MANILA -- Problems in data transmission and ballot-reading hounded the second field test of voting machines on Friday, two days after the poll body reported a success on the earlier test.

A precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine tested in Aguho Elementary School in Pateros failed to read four ballots while three other machines encountered problems in transmitting election results.

National Capital Region (NCR) Regional Director Michael Dioneda said the four ballots might be a little crumpled as these were the same ballots used in the first field test that was conducted on January 27.

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"The Technical Working Group is discussing this matter. Again, the purpose of the test is...to test the system and there are some things that we observed today that will help us in the conduct of elections on May," said Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal.

The PCOS machine that failed to read the ballots was brought to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office for examination.

Dioneda reminded voters to handle their ballots carefully.

"We are stressing that always in our voters' information campaign. Avoid crumpling it, making it wet or putting smudges because we are only giving the voters one chance to vote," he said.

Another difficulty encountered in Aguho Elementary School was the transmission of election results, which took more than two hours because of problems in network coverage.

"There were three SIM (subscriber identity module) cards that were used and after the three SIM cards were used and it did not transmit, we used the BGAN (broadband global area network)," said Larrazabal.

The transmission of data in three other schools -- Taguig Elementary School, Maharlika Elementary School in Taguig, and Pateros Elementary School -- was "successful" as the election results were sent in less than an hour to the servers.

"We encountered problems in terms of signal but eventually, we were able to transmit so everything was sent successfully and accurately to the canvassing centers," said spokesman James Jimenez.

Despite the glitches, however, Larrazabal still pronounced the second field test "successful".

"One of the most important things about field testing is that you have repeatability of results that your success is not a fluke," said Jimenez.

Larrazabal said the Comelec will also look into the transportation of the PCOS machines as part of the testing process.

Earlier reports said the PCOS machines might break if transported to areas that are difficult to reach. They can also be stolen by criminal elements or corrupt politicians.

The Comelec, however, assured that it will settle problems on transportation. "We will be prepared for the elections," said Larrazabal.

The poll body conducted Friday the second field test in four precincts in Taguig and Pateros to allow interested politicians and reporters to observe the procedure.

The field test kicked off at 8 a.m. and the data was transmitted around 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Comelec officials said a mock election will be held on February 6. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)