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.

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.

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)?


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.


 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.”

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.”


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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