THE Provincial Board (PB) yesterday passed a resolution requesting Comelec to let them hold a mock election using the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines “under a worst-case scenario.”

The request was addressed to Provincial Commission on Elections (Comelec) Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano.

The PB said a mock election using the PCOS would let them anticipate a systems failure so that the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) and the electorate would know what to do if this happened.

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Castillano’s office had conducted a mock election in Naga City, Cebu that involved the whole process—voting, transmittal to the canvassing area at the Capitol Social Hall and to Comelec-Manila.

But the PB said “the truer test of the viability and feasibility of the automated election processes is when it is undertaken under the worst conditions that may occur during the election like brownouts or blackouts.”

It urged Castillano to take pre-emptive measures against the alleged practice of some candidates and politicians in using inmates as hitmen, assassins or private armies.

In another resolution, it cited the reported admission of Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Jesus Versoza that inmates are being used by some politicians with the collusion of jail officials.

“Prisoners are not only used as hired goons by politicians to kill their rivals, but are also utilized in kidnapping activities and other criminal acts,” the PB resolution said.

Meanwhile, Comelec officials assured that power outages will not derail the conduct of elections.

Acting Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama will meet with power sector stakeholders and the Comelec today to clarify the status of power supply in the coming months.

He said power supply during the elections will be crucial, as this could hamper the election and the transmission of results.

Rama, who is running for Cebu City mayor, said he is concerned about possible manipulations in the voting and the transmission of results if there will be widespread power disruption on election day.

In a separate interview, Cebu City election officer for the north district lawyer Marchel Sarno assured that any power disruption on election day will not derail or hamper the election process although it will be hot in the polling places.

Sarno said each of the PCOS machines has its own battery pack that will last for 16 hours.

The voting hours will only be from 7 a.m. To 6 p.m. Or only 11 hours, which means that the Board of Election Inspectors will have enough time to transmit the results from the polling precinct to the canvassing area in the city or municipality.

“In other words, even if there will be brownout the entire day of May 10, the machine will still run. It won’t need a generator. However, the precinct will be hot, but if we talk about the machine, it can use electricity and it can also rely on the battery,” Sarno said.

Sarno and election officer for the south district Edwin Cadungog are among those who were invited by Rama to the meeting today, along with officers from the Visayan Electric Co. (RSA/LCR)