July 26, 2010 in Featured
By ARTHUR ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — A Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) technician, who served during the May 10 elections in this city, urged the regional and city offices of the Commission on Elections, through a letter, to conduct investigations on alleged meetings of PCOS technicians at the headquarters of the Timpuyog ti Baguio at T. Alonzo St. as she believed that such meetings were clear violations of the Election Code.
Mary Grace Bandoy cited various dates prior to the May 10 elections where their fellow technicians conducted meetings at the Timpuyog Headquarters at the T. Alonzo St. She is among the 60 people hired and deployed by Placewell International Services Corporation to help in the operation and maintenance of PCOS machines in the city for the first automated elections in the country.
In her affidavit attached to her letters to the Comelec offices, Bandoy stated that she was puzzled why PCOS technicians’ meetings in Baguio were being held at the Timpuyog headquarters as they are supposed to be impartial.
“I thought it was against protocol and was quite improper to hold meetings there if we were to work as PCOS technicians for the elections. I thought of clarifying the incident with Placewell officers assigned in Baguio after the expiration of my contract (with Placewell) so as not to interrupt my services for the elections because I thought they must have some logical explanation,” she added in her affidavit.
The said letters were submitted last week to the office of Comelec Regional Director Julius Torres and City Election Officer Modesto Bahul Jr.
Placewell denies meetings
Walter Yuri Akiate, a regional director of Placewell, denied that their technicians’ meetings were held at the Timpuyog headquarter but instead in a portion of the building. He clarified that their technicians’ training was held at the Villa La Maja, Outlook Drive of this city but Bandoy also clarified that meetings, particularly on the week of April, May 2 and May 9, were held in the said headquarter.
As the building also serves as the review center of RA Gapuz, Placewell asked permission from them as Akiate cited a certification from a Gapuz representative. “They (technicians) never mingled with Timpuyog personnel (during these meetings),” said Akiate in an SMS message. He said that his contract with Placewell ended on May 15 but was extended for another 15 days to ensure payment of technicians’ salaries.
At least three more PCOS technicians assured this writer that they conducted meetings in the said building at T. Alonzo St. A paid ad on May 30 in a local paper by supporters of Timpuyog stated that the area was indeed a Timpuyog headquarters.
Support for investigation
The letter of Bandoy to the Comelec calling for the investigation gained support from an electoral watchdog. In a phone interview with Melanie Daza, a staff of Comelec-CAR Director Torres, she said that their office has no action yet on the letter of Bandoy.
The Baguio-Benguet chapter of Pagbabago said that they support the investigation as the alleged violation could be explained and the impartiality of technicians in the past elections will be cleared. Pagbabago also appeals to those knowledgeable of any fraud or anomalies related to the May 10 elections to come out publicly.# nordis.net