There was no discrepancy between the official tally transmitted by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine and the votes in the decrypted ballots for defeated 2013 senatorial candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva in one precinct in Nueva Ecija, according to the initial examination of the Commission on Elections. It took the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election at least four hours to decrypt or download the images of the ballots cast in clustered precinct 19 in Barangay Concepcion, Gapan, Nueva Ecija, then check, print, and count the votes for Villanueva. The committee did not touch the ballots from clustered precincts 29 and 30, as their supposed discrepancies were small, unlike in precinct 19.
A decision penned by Judge Celso Baguio of the Regional Trial Court of Gapan City earlier this year showed Villanueva getting 900 votes in the manual counting in Clustered Precincts Nos. 19, 29 and 30 of Barangays Pias and Concepcion against the official Comelec tally of only 781 votes. Due to this, the committee decided to do the recount in Gapan to test the accuracy of the PCOS machine.
“In the election return, Villanueva has 278 votes. Per physical count of the ballots, candidate Villanueva obtained 366 votes. Per physical count of the decrypted ballot images, Villanueva obtained 278 votes,” said lawyer Roseller Abad, the Comelec staff member who reviewed the ballots.
Asked by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III to explain the difference between the physical count of paper ballots and the ballot images, Abad said they still need to compare each of the paper ballots with the image captured by PCOS machine when the voter put his ballot into the device.