COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes inspects Smartmatic’s Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) with Smartmatic Asia Pacific President Cesar Flores and Atty. Himerio Garcia Committee Secretary during the presentation of the accuracy of the PCOS machines. (Joseph Vidal / Senate Pool / NPPA Images)

The widespread blackout in Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon has left the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) restless since Wednesday.
UNA campaign manager Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said the power outage is just one of other “disturbing developments” that occurred recently, which could affect the conduct of midterm polls on Monday.
“The ‘Daang Madilim’ scenario on May 13 (will) likely trigger messy election (and) provide opportunity for poll cheats,” Tiangco said in a statement.

But Senator Franklin Drilon, Team PNoy campaign manager, assured the power outage was just an isolated incident and therefore, not a reason to fear.
“I don’t think it should be a cause of concern and the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines have their own batteries which can operate for twelve hours even on brownouts, so absolutely no cause for concern,” Drilon said.
Tiangco argued many technical and legal issues within Commission on Election (Comelec) would be used to trigger messy elections on May 13.
UNA said it is alarmed over the fact that Comelec technicians trained by Smartmatic are the only ones allowed to boot 82,000 PCOS machines, and not inspectors or teachers in poll precincts.
“It does not inspire confidence that one person with access to the compact flash (CF) card carried by any one of the machines can corrupt the result.  A recipe for dagdag bawas,” Tiangco said said.
He added that the CF cards that will be used in the machines are not the “write once-read many” (WORM) but the rewritable type. 
“This means the embedded program can be altered. And the PCOS machines no longer have the vote verification receipt with which voters can check if his ballot was read right,” he said.
He also complained that the Comelec failed to release the vital source code of the voting machines on time, which would not enable parties’ IT experts to test the software before Monday’s balloting. 
The Navotas representative also fears "dubious characters" surrounding President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III would be able to find a way to take advantage of the situation.
Earlier, UNA supporters have complained about political harassment, rampant vote buying and the unprofessional use of police escorts allegedly conducted to favor administration bets at the local level.
“There is reason to be hopeful. We have a President that has shown admirable integrity, the champion of tuwid na daan. We are confident that he wants clean elections as much as we do,” Tiangco said. 
“But what worries the public are the less than honest characters around him who have a different agenda, and who have been schooled in the art of election rigging,” he added.
Tiangco urged President Aquino to check “operators within his party” as UNA expects them to shave votes for UNA and pad votes for LP.
“UNA votes can be shaved in areas where they are strong, and administration party votes can be padded in their bailiwicks,” Tiangco cautioned.  
“This may not happen, but we can never underestimate the venality of those who have lofty ambitions, and whose loyalty are not with the President but with themselves alone,” he added. 

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