Postscript: The five mysteries of 2013 elections

First published on Blogwatch.ph

A month after the midterm elections, mysteries still surround the electoral exercise that was marred by irregularities at every step of the way – from the final testing and sealing up to the canvassing of results. Too many questions cropped up, to the extent of putting the credibility of the entire elections in question. Even with that, Commission on Elections(Comelec) came up not with brilliant answers to those questions but with recycled tirades against critics as it insisted that everything is okay with the conduct of elections.

It is tragic for Comelec to busy itself with all sorts of gimmick prior to the elections – from the crusade on proper postering to the whimsical money ban – only to be caught flat-footed in dealing with poll automation woes despite persistent reminders from poll watchdogs. What really happened to their avowed 99.99 percent preparedness? Probably, Comelec trusted Smartmatic’s erroneous machines and canvassing system too much.

Of course Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. will never admit that the recent elections were a disaster. For him, the 2013 midterm election is the “best ever”.

Brillantes will not confess to the Filipino people that poll automation was a costly illusion – at around P1.8 billion worth of people’s money. What he did was to induce, in a lame manner, the illusion of poll automation speed through his hasty proclamation of winning senatorial candidates “based on projections” as around one-fifth of results were not yet transmitted to the Comelec server.

Even with the Comelec’s not-so-creative improvisations, the people still need plausible explanations to the questions on poll irregularities which arose in the recently conducted elections. Those questions will not rot. They will just keep on haunting the poll body and the nation every three years.

1) Source code and the terms of Dominion-Smartmatic settlement

Just days before the May 13 elections, Comelec chair Brillantes announced that Dominion, the real owner of the poll automation technology, and Smartmatic, the software vendor, have reached a settlement regarding their dispute. The announcement was made as both Dominion and Smartmatic belatedly presented to the public the supposed source code of the precint count optical scan (PCOS) machine in CD form. Without any hash code matching, how can we be sure that the supposed source code, currently in escrow at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, matches with the one in the 78,000 PCOS machines?

What are the terms of the settlement between Dominion and Smartmatic? Did the Philippine government paid any or both parties to reach such settlement?

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