HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL R. BUTUYAN, ROMEL R. BAGARES, ALLAN JONES F. LARDIZABAL, GILBERT T. ANDRES, IMMACULADA D. GARCIA, ERLINDA T. MERCADO, FRANCISCO A. ALCUAZ, MA. AZUCENA P. MACEDA, and ALVIN A. PETERS Vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Represented by HON. CHAIRMAN JOSE MELO, COMELEC SPECIAL BIDS and AWARDS COMMITTEE, represented by its CHAIRMAN HON. FERDINAND RAFANAN, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET and MANAGEMENT, represented by HON. ROLANDO ANDAYA, TOTAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT CORPORATION and SMARTMATIC INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, G.R. No. 188456, FEBRUARY 10, 2010; with accompanying case: PETE QUIRINO-QUADRA vs. SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by its President, JUAN PONCE ENRILE, G.R. No. 188456, FEBRUARY 10, 2010.
Re: Pars. (f) and (g), Section 6 of Republic Act No. (RA) 8436, or the Election Modernization Act, as amended by RA 9369.
Decretal : DECISION, dated September 10, 2009, denying the petitions.
“X x x.
As another ground for the nullification of the automation contract, petitioners posit the view that the PCOS machines do not satisfy the minimum system capabilities prescribed by RA 8436, as amended. To a specific point, they suggest that the PCOS system offered and accepted lacks the features that would assure accuracy in the recording and reading of votes, as well as in the tabulation, consolidation/canvassing, electronic transmission, storage results and accurate ballot counting. In this particular regard, petitioners allege that, based on Smartmatics website, the PCOS has a margin of error of from 2% to 10%, way beyond that of the required 99.99% accuracy in the counting of votes.
The minimum system capabilities provision cited is Sec. 7 of RA 8436, as amended, and the missing features referred to by petitioners are pars. (b) and (j). In full, Sec. 7 of RA 8436, as amended, reads:
SEC. 6. Minimum System Capabilities. - The automated election system must at least have the following functional capabilities:
(a) Adequate security against unauthorized access;
(b) Accuracy in recording and reading of votes as well as in the tabulation, consolidation/canvassing, electronic transmission, and storage of results;
(c) Error recovery in case of non-catastrophic failure of device;
(d) System integrity which ensures physical stability and functioning of the vote recording and counting process;
(e) Provision for voter verified paper audit trail;
(f) System auditability which provides supporting documentation for verifying the correctness of reported election results;
(g) An election management system for preparing ballots and programs for use in the casting and counting of votes and to consolidate, report and display election result in the shortest time possible;
(h) Accessibility to illiterates and disabled voters;
(i) Vote tabulating program for election, referendum or plebiscite;
(j) Accurate ballot counters;
(k) Data retention provision;
(l) Provide for the safekeeping, storing and archiving of physical or paper resource used in the election process;
(m) Utilize or generate official ballots as herein defined;
(a) Provide the voter a system of verification to find out whether or not the machine has registered his choice; and
(o) Configure access control for sensitive system data and function.
In the procurement of this system, the Commission shall develop and adopt an evaluation system to ascertain that the above minimum system capabilities are met. The evaluation system shall be developed with the assistance of an advisory council.
From the records before us, the Court is fairly satisfied that the Comelec has adopted a rigid technical evaluation mechanism, a set of 26-item/check list criteria, as will be enumerated shortly, to ensure compliance with the above minimum systems capabilities.
The SBAC Memorandum of June 03, 2009, as approved by Comelec Res. 8608, categorically stated that the SBAC-TWG submitted its report that TIM/Smartmatics proposed systems and machines PASSED all the end-to-end demo tests using the aforementioned 26-item criteria, inclusive of the accuracy rating test of at least 99.955%. As appearing in the SBAC-TWG report, the corresponding answers/remarks to each of the 26 individual items are as herein indicated: x x x.
x x x.
Given the foregoing and absent empirical evidence to the contrary, the Court, presuming regularity in the performance of regular duties, takes the demo-testing thus conducted by SBAC-TWG as a reflection of the capability of the PCOS machines, although the tests, as Comelec admits, were done literally in the Palacio del Governador building, where a room therein simulated a town, the adjoining room a city, etc. Perusing the RFP, however, the real worth of the PCOS system and the machines will of course come after they shall have been subjected to the gamut of acceptance tests expressly specified in the RFP, namely, the lab test, field test, mock election test, transmission test and, lastly, the final test and sealing procedure of all PCOS and CCS units using the actual Election Day machine configuration.
Apropos the counting-accuracy feature of the PCOS machines, petitioners no less impliedly admit that the web page they appended to their petition, showing a 2% to 10% failing rate, is no longer current. And if they bothered to examine the current website of Smartmatic specifically dealing with its SAES 1800, the PCOS system it offered, they would have readily seen that the advertised accuracy rating is over 99.99999%. Moreover, a careful scrutiny of the old webpage of Smarmatic reveals that the 2% to 10% failure rate applied to optical scanners and not to SAES. Yet the same page discloses that the SAES has 100% accuracy. Clearly, the alleged 2% to 10% failing rate is now irrelevant and the Court need not belabor this and the equally irrelevant estoppel principle petitioners impose on us.
Intervenor Cuadras concern relates to the auditability of the election results. In this regard, it may suffice to point out that PCOS, being a paper-based technology, affords audit since the voter would be able, if need be, to verify if the machine had scanned, recorded and counted his vote properly. Moreover, it should also be noted that the PCOS machine contains an LCD screen, one that can be programmed or configured to display to the voter his votes as read by the machine. 
x x x.”