.
Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

At last Church blasts recent elections as “mockery of our democracy” and joins civil society groups in demanding accountability from Comelec. Uncertainty over results could skewer candidates’ plans to file protests---deadline for filing tomorrow, May 29. If voters readily believe ’60-30-10’ manipulation, Comelec has only itself to blame, says CBCP-NASSA.


CBCP-NASSA Chief, Bishop Broderick Pabillo
Finally the Catholic Church has spoken through the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) on the conduct of the recent mid-term elections. And though its reaction is  two weeks late, the CBCP-NASSA statement, issued through Bishop Broderick Pabillo, is worth the wait, for it is STRONG! As the Church is the most credible institution in our midst, according to a survey poll, its stand should reinvigorate and energize myriad civil society groups that have militantly opposed Comelec’s consistently fraudulent conduct in the mid-term elections.

XXX

Asserting that the recent elections “makes a mockery of our democracy,” the statement blasted the “rampant and large-scale vote-buying” and the sins of Comelec such as the “disenfranchisement of voters, malfunction of the PCOS machines, corrupted Compact Flash (CF) cards, transmission failures and the non-compliance of election laws by Comelec, which…created public mistrust among the Filipinos, thus making questionable the authenticity of the results of the 2013 automated elections.”

CBCP-NASSA also questioned the failure of Comelec to allow interested parties to review the source code and install the necessary safeguards on the PCOS machines, but most especially its unholy rush to proclaim on “installment-basis” the 12 senators based only on partial returns. This speed, noted CBCP-NASSA, was in sharp contrast to the super-slow reaction of the poll body to positive suggestions and recommendations of election advocates and watchdogs.

CBCP-NASSA threw its weight with civil society groups  demanding accountability from Comelec and its deputies and stakeholders “who subvert the will of the people.”

XXX

CBCP-NASSA has every right to lament the state of the election-handling by Comelec, for it has been two weeks after the May 13 elections and up to now a full 23.67% of the Election Returns (ERs) remains UNACCOUNTED FOR AND UNREPORTED, representing anywhere from 8 million up to 11 million votes.  This means that Comelec is effectively disenfranchising those many millions of Filipinos.

Contrary to what PPCRV official Ana de Villa Singson was quoted as saying in a rush defense of Comelec---that the delay in transmission of returns could no longer affect the standing of the last three proclaimed senators---such a huge volume of unreported votes could indeed actually change the composition of the senatorial winners. 

This is apart from the fact that disenfranchisement is a gross travesty of justice and civil rights.

XXX

Comelec has indecently failed to offer any explanation for the untransmitted ERs, despite the protests by election watchdog Namfrel and the IT community over what’s happening, except to blame the teachers and telecom companies. Obviously Comelec has hoped that mainstream media would bump all election news from its pages in no time.

And indeed this has happened, as even the story of the incredible massive defeat of the entire lineup of former Rep. Felicito Payumo from congressional down to mayoralty candidates in Bataan managed to land only in the inside page of a major newspaper.  

The double tragedy, aside from heightening fears of manipulation of election results through unconscionable delays in transmissions of ERs (especially from ARMM), is that tomorrow, Wednesday, May 29, is the last day for the filing of election protests by candidates. Delays of transmissions in many areas may have skewered plans for them to seek proper redress of grievances, and it’s easy to see how this could prove explosive in some places.  

XXX

What could have helped candidates in the non-action of Comelec are what a Namfrel statement terms “two safeguards at the backend of the AES.”  These two safeguards, “that will not only crosscheck the numbers yielded by the PCOS machines but will also, if done right, fill the gap left by the 23.67% unaccounted ERs,” are in the hands of the PPCRV; but to date these safeguards remain, like the unaccounted ERs, ALSO UNREALIZED. 

One safeguard is the parallel manual count that PPCRV, as Comelec's official watchdog, is “authorized to conduct from the 3rd copy of the ER (and cascading other copies of other documents)" that it holds. 

The second safeguard pertains to the report of the Random Manual Audit Team (RMAT) chaired by PPCRV Chair Henrietta de Villa, which is responsible for summarizing and analyzing the results of the RMA it conducted in 234 PRE-selected precincts across the country--- one in each of the legislative districts.  This RMAT report should have been finished at generous best in a week’s time from the elections---but until now only trickles are coming out.

These two measures,  which could well be the critical "backend safeguards" of the recent automated elections, have yet to be fully accomplished and disclosed by PPCRV---bolstering popular suspicion that it has been coopted by Comelec.

XXX

Postings of Ateneo Math Professor and holder of a Ph.D in Mathematics from the UP, Dr. Felix "Lex" Muga, of a perceivable linear pattern of 60% for Team Pnoy, 30% for UNA and 10% for independent candidates (with just a little variance in each case) in various regions have provoked debates among math specialists and computer scientists. Majority of our citizens not only believe this election phenomenon was PCOS-arranged---they also treat it with cynicism and in true Pinoy fashion, humor as they poke fun at the recent elections and the rotten political system. 
  
Says one Face Book habitué: the neat linear blocks would make an excellent T-shirt design. Says another: no, nicer as fence pattern. No, says yet another, they look good as bar code of Comelec and Smartmatic. Imagine suggestions!

XXX

Comelec and its allies are busy trying to dismantle this 60-30-10 conspiracy theory but I’m afraid the people’s belief about a systematic pre-programming of the election results at the senatorial level would persist, due in large part to Comelec’s own doing, as CBCP-NASSA pointed out.  Mathematicians may try to inject all kinds of arguments, such as the Law of Large Numbers, but in the minds of the people, Dr. Muga’s colored blocks will remain embedded in our collective memory forever.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Last week, at the height of his pique over the fierce attacks against Comelec and his persona, Chair Sixto Brillantes blurted out, ok. let’s open all the ballots. So folks, let’s do it---let’s count the votes---as this is the only way to restore credibility to the recent elections. Open those ballot boxes.

Without this manual recount the 2013 elections will go down in the history of Philippine elections in total ignominy, and Brillantes cannot have any way to redeem himself.

XXX

The math experts who opened up on possible pre-programmed manipulations such as Dr. Pablo Manalastas and Dr Muga have been quoted publicly as saying that the best way to sift FACT from FANTASY or SPECULATION is to GO DOWN TO THE VOTES at least at the municipal level. But how do the math people get official records of those ERs, if PPCRV, which holds the 3rd copy, remains unable to release complete data?

Another way is to get UNA’s cooperation as it has the dominant minority’s 7th copy. But why is UNA not coming across either?

Last Wednesday losing senatorial candidate Richard Gordon filed an omnibus motion at the Supreme Court for a TRO against moving out PCOS machines from precincts across the country to the Comelec/Smartmatic warehouse in Cabuyao. Gordon aims to protect the data inside those machines, for an eventual manual count based on a verified source code that he hopes SC would order the Comelec to undertake. But the SC has not acted on his protest up to now, so there’s reasonable fear of tampering of those data in the machines.  

So what recourse do citizens have in such tainted elections?


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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Disclosure of Gus Lagman’s return of P1.25M ‘intel check’ blows lid off Comelec P30M intel fund approved by P-Noy. AES Watch dares Brillantes to deny that he’s “spying on us,” as it calls on Comelec and Joint Congressional Oversight Committee to secure all PCOS machines, software and other paraphernalia for auditing and ‘forensics scrutiny’---echoing Gordon’s omnibus petition before SC. Bishops’ support badly needed.


Every day that Sixto Brillantes stays at Comelec’s helm, it seems he manages to open a new can of worms, thanks to his loquaciousness. The latest is his admission that he asked to channel Comelec’s savings into a P30 million fund which the President readily approved last Feb. 20---to be used for intelligence purposes.

The problem is that the term “intel fund” has become a dirty word in the political vocabulary, as it’s justified even with just a piece of paper signed by the user, no accounting needed. As the Manila Times editorial put it, the intel fund may be legal but not moral---especially in an election year where the President, head of the administration’s coalition party who campaigned for his candidates like no other president has done, is the one approving it.  

P30 million is no sneezing matter, and a Comelec Chief who has become slavish in his actuations could become even more beholden to the approving power.

XXX

The Comelec’s intel fund came under public scrutiny after former Commissioner Gus Lagman disclosed that each of the six commissioners was given P1.2 million to be used by them for election-related activities, with the chair getting double. Lagman disclosed that when he was asked to sign a document attesting to this sum as intel fund, he refused. Coming to a parting of ways after the Commission on Appointments did not confirm his appointment and the President did not re-appoint him, he returned the fund untouched---whereas the other commissioners have been quiet about their options.   

The Comelec’s intel fund issue has raised many questions. To be sure, Sec. 11 on the Commission on Elections in Art. IX of the Constitution, on “Constitutional Commissions,” allows that  funds certified by Comelec as “necessary to defray the expenses for holding regular and special elections...shall be provided in the regular or special appropriations…” This is what Malacanang did: under Sec. 59 of RA 10352, the General Appropriations Act of 2013 passed by Congress, Brillantes sought permission from P-Noy to realign his agency’s savings as intel fund---and he got it.

Heaven knows, however, what else transpired between him and P-Noy’s officials.

XXX

The presidential approval of funds for Comelec to carry out its mandated functions is a deplorable arrangement whose repercussions the framers of the Constitution did not anticipate. This provision should be the first to go in a Charter Change as it subverts the “fiscal autonomy” that the Constitution guarantees to the three commissions it expressly established---the Comelec, the Civil Service Commission and COA. It’s lamentable that the Comelec Chair has to run to P-Noy for funding for activities and duties mandated to it---thus giving him the excuse to resort to intel funds.

Given a President who has shown little hesitation about politicking and an obviously subservient Comelec Chair, this provision proved disastrous. A well-studied specific legislation by Congress to govern every election function of Comelec ought to be a better safeguard of its fiscal autonomy.

XXX

This brings us to the next question: why the need for intel funds? Brillantes’ excuse, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, is that these would be “utilized for intelligence, counter-intelligence activities and gathering of information relative to the activities of certain groups, individuals and technology experts suspected of conducting overt and covert operations to sabotage the results of the elections.”

Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption Chair Dante Jimenez fired the first sensible observation: “Why the need for intel funds when all law enforcement agencies are automatically deputized by the Comelec?” Jimenez blasted the fund as a “blatant abuse of authority on the people’s money” and called on COA to audit Comelec.

XXX

But the IT community---more united than ever before vs. electoral fraud--- felt directly alluded to by Comelec’s multi-billion cloak and dagger operation. The militant umbrella organization Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) today dared Brillantes to directly state that its intel fund was not intended to spy on IT groups and election watchdogs critical of the PCOS technology and the way the poll body conducted the automated mid-term elections.

The IT experts lamented that the disclosure of this secret intel fund has a chilling effect on the IT community and election watchers, but now the Comelec Chief is also out “to attack our civil liberties as well, “ AES Watch spokesperson Nelson Celis asserted.

XXX

Over the many months the IT community escalated its criticisms of the preparations and subsequent conduct of the polls, triggering a word war with Brillantes who labelled them “election saboteurs” engaged in an alleged “conspiracy” to bring about “election failure.”

But the incensed IT experts turned the tables on Comelec by charging that it’s the poll body that has sabotaged the elections with its removal of various security features mandated by the AES Law such as the digital signatures of the BEI personnel, its widespread glitches, transporting vulnerable CF cards physically to the canvassing boards, its highly irregular and arbitrary decision to disclose clustered precincts to be subjected to random manual audit four days prior to elections, etc. (where is that RMA report, by the way?).

AES Watch also demanded that Comelec, along with the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) on AES, secures all PCOS machines, consolidation and canvassing system software, ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia needed for auditing “the now-tainted mid-term election system” and subject them to “forensics scrutiny.”

XXX

AES Watch’s call for securing the election paraphernalia tallies with the urgent prayer of a recent omnibus motion filed by senatorial candidate Richard Gordon and his Bagumbayan-VNP party with the Supreme Court two days ago.

Gordon sought disclosure of the source code from Dominion so that it could be compared with what operated in the PCOS machines last elections. He also asked the High Court for a TRO against Comelec’s moving out these machines from the precincts across the country, and prevent them from being transferred to the Comelec/Smartmatic warehouse in Laguna where he feared their data could be tampered with.

XXX
 
Senatorial candidate
 Eddie Villanueva
There has been a clamor from various sectors for a thorough investigation of the charges of electoral sabotage by Comelec. Under normal circumstances, the JCOC in Congress would undertake this investigation impartially, letting the chips fall where they may. But in our thoroughly politicized atmosphere, can we expect the JCOC, currently headed by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., two very close allies of the President, to do so?  Or even a newly constituted JCOC in an LP coalition-dominated Congress in July?


Losing senatorial candidate Eddie Villanueva has called for the setting up of a “Truth Commission,” and already three bishops, including Iloilo Archbishop  Angel Lagdameo, support this idea.  But would the President create such a fact-finding body, given his insistence on 12-0 in the Senate during the campaign and Brillantes' cover-ups?


Iloilo Archbishop
 Angel Lagdameo
The linear pattern in the recent elections showing the 60-30-10 results (with just slight variances) that even P-Noy’s close ally, defeated House NP candidate Felicito Payumo, said operated in his native Bataan, appears to have been pre-programmed. Hence the need to dig the truth by a Truth Commission. The bishops should support the people’s clamor for the truth.





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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gordon and Bagumbayan-VNP file on behalf of all of us in this republic urgent omnibus motion before SC, seeking digital copy of source code used in recent elections, to compare it with Dominion source code. They also seek TRO vs. Comelec’s removal of PCOS machines from wherever these were used across the nation and their transfer to Comelec’s warehouses---to prevent tampering of their contents and software. At risk of accusation of sour-graping, Gordon should go on with his crusade.


Canvassed election results in 18 towns in Bohol,
 consistent with "linear pattern" in other parts of the country

If the Comelec Commissioners think that the citizens’ struggle to have clean and honest elections is over with the premature proclamation of 12 senators based on incomplete, grouped canvass, they have another thing coming. This afternoon the political party Bagumbayan-VNP Movement, represented by its president, Leon B. Herrera, and senatorial candidate Richard Gordon filed a history-making and epochal Urgent Omnibus Motion before the Supreme Court. 


This urgent motion will be a stiff test of the High Court’s cognizance of the demands of the people for true and honest results of the recent elections---particularly in the light of shocking disclosures in social media that the PCOS machines appear to have been pre-programmed to produce a 60-30-10 result in the senatorial elections across the country (60% for the LP coalition, 30% for UNA and 10% for independent candidates).

This “linear arrangement” appears to have been consistent through various canvassing results---as observed by IT experts, Ateneo mathematics professor Lex Muga and computer technology students such as Mikko Gozalo.

XXX

This 60-30-10 linear arrangement of senatorial results, with very negligible variances, seems to be reflected in various parts of the country, such as Tacloban and Bohol.  Comelec Chief Sixto Brillantes has acknowledged this phenomenon, but calls it “trending na pataas at pababa.”  IT experts such as Dr. Pedro Manalastas and IT commentator and columnist Dr. Rene Azurin, however, have opined that such linear arrangement is “very highly improbable,” while analyst Malou Tiquia opines that this goes against our political culture and the history of Philippine elections.

Comelec Chair Brillantes has promised to look into it, but when he would do so he hasn’t said. Hence the urgent motion to the SC by Gordon et al.

XXX

The Urgent Omnibus Motion asks for two things in its prayer.

One, that the SC orders Comelec to make available to the petitioners “a complete compilable digital copy of the Source Code for the Automated Election System used for the May 13, 2013 elections.”

As argued by Gordon's counsel, Rodolfo O. Reyes, the petitioners were compelled to ask the SC to order Comelec to give them a copy of the source code, because the latter continues to ignore their  request to review it.  Reyes recalled that a few days prior to the elections Comelec announced to the various interested parties and organizations that Dominion Voting Systems had already agreed to hand over the source code to Comelec and that this is now open for review.

XXX
 
Richard J. Gordon

Earlier in the week before the May 13 elections senatorial candidate Richard J. Gordon filed an urgent motion before the High Court to stop the conduct of the elections until Comelec provides the political parties copies of the source code from Dominion. On May 8 the High Court held oral arguments and subsequently ordered Comelec to do so.  

Of course, this was just four days before the elections and as IT experts and media pointed out, Comelec’s invitation was virtually of little use, for a meaningful review of the source code would take from three to six months.

Lawyer Reyes nonetheless stressed that the following day, May 9, he wrote Comelec on behalf of Bagumbayan/Gordon, asking for the time and venue for viewing and reviewing this source code from Dominion, but that Comelec has continued to ignore this request until now.  Hence this urgent omnibus motion before the SC today.

XXX

The second prayer before the High Court is for a TRO to stop Comelec from removing the PCOS machines used in the recent elections from “their respective precincts, schoolhouses or present whereabouts” and to prevent them from being transferred to the poll body’s “own or maintained storage facilities and/or opening up or otherwise tampering with the components, contents and software encoded into said machines.”

This second petition is made, asserted petitioners Bagumbayan-VNP and Gordon, on behalf of the Filipino people, to “preserve (their) legal right to determine whether or not the Source Code encoded, loaded and or compiled into the said PCOS machines used in the May 13, 2013 elections is IDENTICAL to the Source Code to be provided by the Respondents (Comelec) to Petitioners (emphasis mine).

XXX

Gordon et al. said they deemed it best to petition the SC to order the PCOS machines retained wherever they were used in the last elections---“lest (the people's) statutory rights be rendered nugatory.” In plain language, Gordon et al. fear that moving the PCOS machines physically from the election premises could lead to tampering with the results registered in those machines.

Their fear, however, may aggravate in the light of a story by RG Cruz in ABS-CBN News earlier today that “reverse deployment” of the PCOS meachines is being undertaken, i.e., they are being shipped back to the warehouse in Laguna. RG Cruz may be referring to the Smartmatic warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna where the PCOS machines have been kept all these years since the 2010 elections, and for which Comelec was charged warehouse fees of a whopping P400 million. I question Comelec's paying these fees for they should have been shouldered by the PCOS vendor, Smartmatic. Comelec was again made a sucker by the smart Smartmatic.

According to RG Cruz, the warehouse contract expires June 30, but that on the other hand, Comelec has a pending expropriation case on the Cabuyao warehouse. Hence, it’s is now looking for other warehouses in Subic, Clark, Muntinlupa and Paranaque.

XXX
In the light of all these developments, the omnibus motion before the SC filed by Leon Herrera of Bagumbayan-VNP and Dick Gordon becomes even more urgent and imbued with enormous significance for our democracy.  Of all the recent developments, however, the need to preserve the integrity of the election data inside the PCOS machines is, to me, the most urgent as it would have a bearing on the true results of the elections.
I commend Richard Gordon for bravely taking this initiative of protecting the integrity of the PCOS data before the High Tribunal---even at the risk of looking like he's sour-graping, having landed No. 13 in the much-disputed Comelec tally based on incomplete returns (over a million still unaccounted for as of today).

Let’s hope and pray the SC listens to the fervent clamor of our people for the true and honest results of the elections.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

AES Watch’s verdict on Elections 2013: FROM ‘BAD TO WORSE.’ Namfrel scored Comelec for unaccounted 8.5 million votes from 18,504 ERs. Unrepentant Brillantes continues looking for scapegoats: first teachers and then telcos for “weak signals,” which PLDT and Globe flatly denied. ARMM has lowest percentage of ERs transmitted, and last to transmit COCs, but registered 100% voting attendance! One for Ripley’s---IT experts.



Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes, bugbog cerrado for innumerable “glitches” and mysterious flaws in the recent elections, continues to look for scapegoats. First he blamed the teachers for inexplicable delays in transmission of canvassed data from around the country---prompting teachers to troop to Comelec and protest his wrong send. It’s the PCOS machines, they insisted, not them.

Now he blames the “weak signals” that were causing the delays, but this only drew stiff protest from the two major telecom providers: “what weak signal?”  

PLDT saw it fit to issue a statement that its mobile networks, including those of Smart and Sun Cellular “were fully functional throughout the exercise.” Globe Telecom said that its help-desk stationed at the National Support Center has yet to receive a single transmission-related concern from the election’s technology provider, Smartmatic.

XXX
 
Namfrel national chair
Cora de la Paz-Bernardo
No less than Cora de la Paz-Bernardo, Namfrel national chair, noted that telecom companies have already pointed to the availability of signals in all the sites.
  
Hanap ka na lang ng ibang dahilan, Mr. Comelec Chair, to explain, as Namfrel stated yesterday, where are the unaccounted 8.5 million votes from 18,504 election returns (ERs). Namfrel pointed out that the transmission of ERs to the poll body’s transparency server (from which poll watchdogs such as Namfrel draw their data) stalled five days after the elections, at 76.3273%, so that “a lot of apprehension is going around over Comelec’s plan on how it will account for the remaining 23.67% missing ERs. Namfrel also stressed that the proclamations last Thursday and Friday evenings of nine leading bets for the Senate was based on “UNTENABLE FIGURES” (emphasis BOC’s).

But most important was Namfrel’s observation: “How come there were still transmissions of ERs coming in four days after voting closed on Monday?  Just where are these ER figures being sent, “WHEN PCOS MACHINES ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN SEALED BY THIS TIME” (emphasis BOC’s)?

XXX

The following facts would qualify for Ripley’s:  Namfrel noted that of the country’s 17 regions, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) emerged with the LOWEST PERCENTAGE OF ERs TRANSMITTED (only 34.9% of 3,124 ERs).

But another report elsewhere also noted that 54 clustered precincts in ARMM registered 100% VOTER TURNOUT---perfect voter attendance!---whereas in hundreds of other areas around the country, hundreds of thousands of voters were disenfranchised, and in partial tally in  some 911 clustered precincts across the country, problems were PCOS-related.  IT experts such as Dr. Pablo Manalastas of the Ateneo Computer School have commented that such happening is highly statistically improbable.

And yet, ARMM was the LATEST to transmit to the transparency and Central servers.

It seems one thing can be said: ARMM under President Aquino’s handpicked Acting Governor in 2011, now elected Gov. Mujib Hataman, rose to the challenge and retains its title as the cheating center of the country.


XXX

 Various speakers at the press forum conducted by AES Watch last Saturday at UP Diliman took turns criticizing various aspects of the recent elections, but in sum, the umbrella organization’s verdict was: “2013 Mid-Term Automated Elections: From Bad to Worse, A Technological and Political Disaster.”

The first two paragraphs of AES Watch's Statement on the elections said it all:

“By committing more errors than those recorded in 2010, by making arbitrary and highly-irregular decisions during canvassing, and proclaiming winning candidates prematurely the (Comelec) has turned the second automated elections from bad to worse---a technology and political disaster. Aside from Comelec’s non-compliance---yet again---of the election law and the technical glitches, there was an unprecedented large-scale vote-buying. Political clans are now even more entrenched with a bigger number of their members being fielded in extensive areas and perpetuating themselves thereafter.

“In 2010, a significant number of clustered precincts…had delayed transmissions of up to two days; as of last May 17 or four days after (the 2013) election, 18, 187 clustered precincts or 23% of the total number failed to transmit election returns, affecting, if not potentially disenfranchising 8.16 million voters. Aside from demolishing the much-hyped ‘speed’ of automation, the transmission delays opened the whole system to data manipulation and election rigging. More than 50% of 1,173 incidents based on verified PARTIAL monitoring results of AES Watch were PCOS-related (911 clustered precincts)---from initialization errors, machine breakdown to hardware problems and ballot rejection. A total of 1,432 monitored clustered precincts (1.845 of total CPs) from all over the country had either PCOS or transmission problems. This is equivalent to 1.432M compromised votes.”

XXX
 
IT commentator
Dr. Rene Azurin
More attention will be devoted to the AES Watch statement, but for now I find very interesting the observation offered by columnist and IT commentator Dr. Rene Azurin. He noted that the top winners in the senatorial race appeared to have been stuck or fixed in a kind of linear arrangement that didn’t change and had remained ‘constant’---despite the fact that results from various bailiwicks were coming in, which could have affected their standing one way or another.

Dr. Azurin said the way the senatorial results were fixed in a kind of constant, “it was like everything was pre-programed for a 9-3 win.” Political activist Ado Paglinawan termed this “pre-programmed default.”   

On the other hand, Rene del Rosario, former IT head of Comelec, said in another statement that he "sampled the quick count ‘manufactured’ by the transparency server and found that the votes share are consistently 59.50% for the administration party, 30.93% for the opposition and 5.77% for the ‘underdogs’ (pardon the term)." This arrangement, said Del Rosario, is statistically impossible! “The 9-3 outcome is driven by a linear equation embedded in the PCOS, not on how the people vote.”

XXX


If you folks aren't still convinced of the cheating that went on in the recent elections, consider the table below:

What do you think?


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Friday, May 17, 2013

Teachers protest Brillantes’ wrong send. Comelec’s rush to proclaim winners despite millions of votes still missing aimed to preempt nullification call. Nancy's first post-election move---to boycott her proclamation--- well-advised. Catholic vote worked vs. Risa Hontiveros.



Last Tuesday evening Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes suddenly stopped publicizing election results from various points as transmissions came to an extremely slow pace. This year only 69 % of the votes were transmitted within 48 hours after the elections---much slower than in the 2010 elections where 80 percent of the votes were transmitted within five hours of polls' close.   

Brillantes blamed the teachers for the delay, but a number of them marched today to Comelec to protest his wrong send:  it was not them, they insisted, but the poll body that caused all the delays through its defective machines.  

XXX

The Comelec chose to proclaim last Tuesday night the first six senators in the Magic 12  even though at that point it  had only canvassed 72 certificates of canvass (COCs). This number, as Brillantes’ kumpadre, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, pointed out, was not even half of the 304 COCs expected. In fact, 48 hours after elections closed, 12 million votes were still missing with no transmissions from many hundreds of precincts.

This fact, asserted Macalintal, makes Tuesday's proclamation null and void and he challenged the five “winners” to return their proclamation certificates.

Comelec proclaimed the “winning” senators despite UNA’s petition to delay proclamation, and the warning of Namfrel Secretary-General Eric Alvia that the “lost votes” could still affect the senatorial race. As Atty. Macalintal noted, among the missing COCs were those from traditionally vote-rich provinces such as Cebu and Pampanga.

XXX

UNA’s candidate
Nancy Binay
UNA’s candidate Nancy Binay, who was among the first six candidates proclaimed, did not show up at Comelec. Her explanation: her political party has taken a stand to protest the proclamation. That first post-election political act of this political neophyte is well-advised.  It would have been quite odd if she showed up that night.


Happily two “winners” proclaimed tonight at Comelec, reelectionist Senators Koko Pimentel and Antonio Trillanes, were more sensitive to criticisms of premature proclamation to which their six colleagues were subjected, and they chose to boycott tonight. Only LP’s Bam Aquino showed up by his lonesome, looking ill at ease.  

XXX

Chair Brillantes was obviously driven to rush proclamation of the first  six “winners ” despite the huge chunks of still-missing votes, for a couple of reasons. One is doubtless to justify his dogged pursuit of automated over manual elections-- despite the breakdown of the old PCOS machines during the one and only public test-run and in overseas advance votings, and the elimination of security safeguards by the poll body in various resolutions.

Ironically, automated count was touted to save the nation of five to 12 hours over manual counting, but in these recent elections, it became far worse than manual. 

Then too, Brillantes doubtless feels speedy proclamation is a sure way to preempt predictable demands for nullification of the elections.  

Contrast these rush proclamations despite the huge chunk of still-missing votes with the Comelec’s order in many local races to withhold proclamations until results are in 100%.

No wonder the electorate is confused---and highly suspicious of the results. Comelec is eroding the people’s faith in the electoral system.

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For the past four days all over the country, it was “hora de peligro” when a lot of hocus pocus seemed to be happening with the tamperable hocus PCOS machines, CF cards that had to be physically transmitted to municipal centers because of the machines’ failure, sudden unexplained power outages in many places, and heaven knows what else.

All these lapses have caused  people across the nation terrible anxiety that has translated into open disgust for the conduct of the elections, except in the most rabidly yellow followers. These lapses have reminded people of  the warning of former Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman: that it’s in the transmission stage that electronic dagdag-bawas occurs.

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What makes it worse is that Comelec simply turns a deaf ear on all the election-related complaints, instead of offering viable and intelligible explanations for them,  e.g., what was causing all the transmission delays? What happened to the regional file of several million votes “inadvertently” erased by a Comelec personnel?

But then, the poll body is just being consistent with its behavior in the months prior to the elections, when it chose to “deadma” the litany of complaints tirelessly raised by IT experts under the umbrella of the AES Watch (please note that this group will conduct a post-election media briefing tomorrow, Saturday, May 18, at UP Balay Alumni, Diliman, Q.C., 10-11:30 am.).

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For instance, in Negros Oriental, until today they did not still know who won in the congressional fight, with the power conking out from Guihulngan all the way to Valle Hermoso for a few hours---perhaps enough to tinker with results? There were power outages too in Lanao Sur and other places in Mindanao.

Within hours from polls' close the PPCRV from its command center in the Pope Pius XII Center in Manila apologized for double entry of results which it attributed to “formatting error.” Left unanswered by both PPCRV and Comelec, however, was the question of what a Smartmatic top official was doing tinkering with PPCRV’s transparency files.

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A number of commentators have opined that recent results show that there is no Catholic vote after all, as a number of pro-life senatorial candidates, notably JC de los Reyes, Lito David and Marwil Llasos, failed to score well. But it must be noted that these three candidates, eloquent  and full of conviction as they are, really did not stand a chance vs. other candidates better known, with formidable party machinery and all the funds to advertise heavily in the mass media.

So, is there no Catholic vote?  I agree with my friend Joe Romero who argues in social media that the Catholic vote is a work in progress. The Catholic vote is not like the Iglesia ni Cristo vote that’s mobilized en masse for every election; this is the first time that this term, in fact, has emerged in an electoral exercise.
But perhaps the era of solid “command votes” may be coming to an end even for the vaunted INC. Note, for instance, that the INC supported President GMA’s former finance secretary Gary Teves, for governor in Negros Oriental, and while he was, to my mind, the most deserving of three candidates, Gary only ended up second  to winner Roel Degamo, the former vice-governor. On the other hand, reports say that Rep. Tomas Osmena was supported by the INC in his bid to recapture the mayor's post of Cebu City, but he lost resoundingly to Mike Rama.
  
A friend who’s with the INC estimates that the sect still commands 80% of the votes, but 20% choose to go their own way politically.
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A number of bishops, such as Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Florentino Ferrer
Cinense of Tarlac and Vicente Navarra of Bacolod, came out with their list of candidates, the “Team Buhay,” to support vs. the “Team Patay,” but many other bishops chose not to endorse candidates outright, but instead endorsed themes such as respect for life and the sanctity of the family.

But as Atty. Au Santiago, president of the Catholic lay umbrella coalition, the  “White Vote Movement,” pointed out to me, six out of the 10 endorsed by WVM made it to the senatorial race, and that only Mitos Magsaysay and the three Kapatiran candidates failed to do so (Au included Richard Gordon in the winning column, but this remains to be seen).

But it is also a correct claim that at this stage in the slow gelling of the “Catholic vote,” it worked more in the negative than the positive. The Catholic vote helped bring down the most prominent symbol of the pro-RH movement, the purple-alampay wearing Risa Hontiveros. In addition, the party-list Buhay is No. 1 among the party-lists that succeeded in these elections, which counts former Manila Mayor and staunch pro-Life advocate Lito Atienza in its nominees to the House.

(More on the Catholic vote in next blog)

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