By Nova Veraley V. Grafe
TO PROMOTE AN awareness on the manipulations and anomalies during the May 2013 automated election, advocates for a clean and honest election conducted a forum at Silliman University last August 8.
The government changed the election process from manual to automated in order to improve the accuracy of the counting of votes and tabulation of results; to eliminate cheating; to make the process more transparent to the public; and to speed up the process.
However, Augusto “Gus” C. Lagman, former Comelec commissioner said that May 13, 2013, was “the worst election we’ve ever had.”
“No mock election conducted by Smartmatic has produced an accuracy rate of 99.995% (one error per 20,000 marks) or better.” Lagman said.
Lagman added that reports have shown Smartmatic’s system is very vulnerable to internal tampering—it could be stolen, hi-jacked, and manipulated.
The reports in Cagayan de Oro in 2010, where CF cards were found in the garbage dump, prove the ease by which cards could be stolen; the 60 PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines found in the house of a Smartmatic technician in Antipolo right after the elections prove that even the machines themselves could be hi-jacked; and the PCOS could be manipulated.
Lagman also stressed that transparency was lost when precinct counting was automated.
“Voters didn’t see how their votes were counted; there was no source code review as mandated by law; and the incomplete data in Comelec’s public website made it next to impossible to check the accuracy of canvassing.” said Lagman.
Lagman stressed that Comelec had to budget almost P9 billion in additional expenses (P11.3 billion in 2010).
Atty. Glenn Chong, a former representative of Biliran, Leyte and another speaker of the forum, said the disabling of security features of PCOS—the ultraviolet lamp; the voter verification-paper trail audit; the absence of digital signature of the BEI (board of electoral inspectors); the absence of mandatory source code review; and the incomplete mandatory Comelec website results—was intended for cheat during the 2013 election.
Chong also said that there is evidence of electoral fraud. In Pasay, Chong said that there were 22 clustered precincts with a total of 7, 547 voters; however, the election result showed that there were 9, 045 votes for the Pasay City mayor.
“Over 1, 498 votes were added.” Chong said.
Based on the report, the Comelec had purchased P687.7 million for 1,815,000 ballot secrecy folders. This means, each folder cost P380.
Lagman said that with all these anomalies the Comelec “should shift to its contingency plan, which I hope includes: the transparent
manual precinct counting; electronic transmission; and automated canvassing.”
“No matter if we go to jail, we will still continue our advocacy, join us if you want.” Margarita “Tingting” de los Reyes Conjuangco said