Bonjour. Mabuhay.

I saw this article online and thought it was worth noting.

Have fun reading and thinking🙂.

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A Credible COMELEC
Never on a Sunday
By Atty. RENE ESPINA (Former Senator)
October 10, 2010, 4:04pm

SOME years ago, especially during the martial law years, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was derisively called by the opposition political parties as an institution that did not know how to count! Even after the EDSA revolution, the opposition parties felt that the Comelec wasn’t doing its job properly. They cited as one of the many anomalous elections the ones that were conducted in the ARMM. Be that as it may, the public expects that the present Comelec must be credible, efficient, faithful, and transparent in its duty to conduct free, fair, and honest elections.

I am unhappy that as of this writing, in spite of a Supreme Court (SC) ruling ordering the Comelec to release to several groups involved in checking on the integrity of the automated system adopted by the institution for the May 10, 2010, election i.e., the source code and the other relevant documents needed for the testing, the Comelec has not complied with the SC’s order. Is this an act of defiance to legal orders?… Or are there other reasons?

At the Club Filipino last Tuesday, October 5, a post-election summit was conducted by the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (Cenpeg). In that conference Prof. Felix Muga pointed to a high incidence of technical glitches, hitches, voting procedural errors, and other operational failures throughout the country during the May 10, 2010, automated elections. He cited the following: 1) Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) breakdowns, causing delays in the start of voting, counting, and the whole election process. 2) Defective Compact Flash Cards. Delays in the delivery of reconfigured cards, defective cards, absence of final testing of cards, non-compliance with procedures, etc., which resulted in failure of elections involving the manipulation of F cards. 3) Use of unofficial thermal paper. 4) Failure to verify and authenticate ballots with the non-use of ultraviolet scanners. 5) Irregularities in voting procedures and voter disenfranchisement. 6) Transmission “snafus” not simply in isolated cases, showing that the required telecommunications infrastructure is unreliable.

Muga said that based on their tabulation: The total number of voters who voted at precinct level was 33 million. At municipal level, the total was 35 million. At national level, it reached 37 million. According to Muga the Comelec announced 38 million voted. There is a difference of 5 million votes between the precinct and Comelec figure. Furthermore, Muga said, lack of safeguards and security measures made the automated election system vulnerable to automated fraud in a country where cheating is par for the course during elections.

The decision of the SC promulgated last September 21 has already become final. The Comelec has no other recourse but to abide and implement the Supreme Court’s decision to release the source code and the other pertinent documents to Cenpeg and all other interested parties. The following are to be released: source code, public keys used by the PCOS machines and CCS-REIS computers, sample of digitally signed documents, user manual of the PCOS, encryption/decryption algorithms used by PCOS and CCS-REITS computers during transmission, the network topology, diagram, and documentation, codes process documentation, digital signing protocols used, and the Smartmatic-Comelec contract complete with annexes.

Since the order by the SC en banc was unanimous and is already final, I expect that the Comelec will comply with the order immediately. A constitutional body is expected to be the first to comply with the Constitution and the law. Otherwise, some people might think that the present Comelec is like the previous ones?

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As Pinoys, it is part of our genes to hope and hope for a better tomorrow.

So let’s look forward to that tomorrow…with fervent hope….