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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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6 comments:

  1. Daily People Power in front of COMELEC HQ; of Malacanang; of Brilliantes' House - until kingdom come.

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    Replies
    1. Things are fast developing and many groups are planning various courses of action. Will keep you readers updated. Thanks for the suggestion, Mr. Manilaman

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  2. THE MOST HORRIFYING ELECTION CRIME!!! SIXTO BRILLANTES AND NOYNOY AQUINO MUST RESIGN NOW!!!

    The 60-30-10 election fraud is really a “mockery of our democracy”!

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  3. Those Picos machines can be instruments of fraud and deceit, if I may say. In plain language as regards computer technology--- " GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT." You only get what you put. INPUT=OUTPUT......as simple as that!

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  4. Hi, datu Junn Duque and Jun Viray, thanks for inputting here. Our PCOS nightmare seems to be unending, with all the discoveries. At this moment, I'm in touch with Dr. Lex Muga who is our heroic point-man at his Ateneo Math Dept. command post. He has already looked into 105 provinces and they all have the same 60-30-10 linear pattern. He needs more data to get a truly comprehensive picture. Hope PPCRV and UNA cooperate with the COCs that they hold. Will keep you posted. And let's pray.

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