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Palace keeping out of a potential row involving Comelec's plan to buy PCOS machines

Malacañang is keeping out of a potential legal row looming over the Commission on Elections for the planned purchase of old precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the 2013 polls. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace will leave it to the Comelec to answer questions raised by some groups about the poll body's decision. “That is something that will have to be properly answered by the Comelec. They are buying PCO machines. Comelec ang pasagutin natin diyan," Valte said on government-run dzRB radio. Earlier reports quoted watchdog group Legal Network for Truthful Elections as saying some groups are mulling asking the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against such a purchase. The Comelec reportedly preferred the old machines to save money since buying the old PCOS machines will cost P1.8 billion while leasing new units will cost P6.2 billion. “The Comelec is an independent body, they have to explain, in case they are asked by the court to explain. Sila na bahala doon," Valte said. Meanwhile, Valte declined to comment as well on the reported call of lawmakers to postpone the barangay elections scheduled in October 2013, supposedly to avoid holding two expensive elections in one year. Valte said this is “something that has not been discussed” in Malacañang, although the Interior Department may consult with the villages. “There is no position yet (by Malacañang) at this time,” she said. — LBG, GMA News