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?

Read more

Advertisements

Dear Candidates: Anong tindig nyo sa 2013 poll automation?

PCOS machine

Dear politicos,

Napansin ko na karamihin sa inyo ay tikom ang bibig kapag pinag-uusapan ang samu’t saring kapalpakan ng PCOS machines at bulnerabilidad ng buong automated election system (AES). Nauunawaan ko ito – Bakit mo nga naman kwekwestyonin ang automated system na inaasahan mong magpapanalo sa iyo. Kauna-unawa ang inyong katahimikan sa isyung ito, pero hindi iyon katanggap-tanggap.

Pansinin natin ang mga ulat hinggil sa ginaganap na final testing and sealing (FTS) ng mga election paraphernalia:

  • Sa halip na serialized plastic seal ang gamitin sa pagselyo ng makina at mga balota, packaging tape lang ang ginamit sa ilang tukoy na mga presinto mula Luzon, Visayas hanggang Mindanao. Kumbaga, walang “sealing” na naganap sa aktwal
  • May mga ulat ng di pagtutugma ng manual count at PCOS count
  • May ulat din hinggil sa pagkaantala ng delivery ng election paraphernalia sa ilang probinsya
  • At tulad noong 2010, may mga insidente na biglang huminto ang makina o di kaya’y isinusuka ang mga balota.

Hindi pa kasama sa FTS ang ibang aspeto ng poll automation, tulad ng transmission at canvassing – na noong eleksyong 2010 ay minarkahan ng aberya at anomalya. Naalala nyo pa ba noong lumabas sa central canvassing center na 256 million ang kabuuang bilang ng botante sa Pilipinas?

Kanina, naganap ang malawakang brownout sa Luzon nang nagka-aberya umano ang 5 planta. Hindi ka ba mananawagan sa Comelec na maghanda ng contingency plan kung sakaling mangyari ito sa mismong araw ng halalan? Hindi ka ba na-alarma na maaring may nilulutong malawakang pandaraya? O baka bahagi ka ng maitim na balak?

Huwag mo ring kalilimutang wala pa rin ang source code, ang instruksyon sa PCOS machines kung paano ito dapat magbilang ng boto. Dahil walang source code, wala pa ring source code review kahit pa itinatakda na dapat itong isagawa ayon sa RA 9369 o poll automation law. Ngayon, biglang nagpapakitang gilas si Brillantes na ilalabas na raw ang source code, at isasagawa raw ang source code review pagkatapos ng halalan.

Kung sakaling manalo, susuportahan mo ba ang source code review na isasagawa ng Comelec? O magsasalita ka na lang ba hinggil sa AES kapag lumabas na ikaw ay talunan? Talunan ka na sa akin ngayon pa lang kapag ikaw ay ganyan.

Walang ibang pinapanigan ang iyong katahimikan kundi ang pagkompromiso sa demokrasya. Pag-isipan mo iyan.

Nagbabantay,

@jcmaningat