Written by Pat C. Santos Wednesday, 28 November 2012 00:00
Major local and international civic organization seriously challenged Smartmatic’s handling of the 2010 elections as well as the forthcoming 2013 elections, saying even more flaws that marked the 2010 presidential polls will surely place the 2013 elections in serious jeopardy.
At a press conference held in Manila yesterday, the AES-watch, Tangulang Demokrasya (Tan Dem), Global Filipino Nation (GFN) have unified and jointly asserted that the 2010 elections were seriously flawed and that Smartmatic’s Precinct Count Optical Scan machines being used in the conduct of the 2013 are certain to place the entire electoral process in serious jeopardy.
A joint statement of the three organi-zations maintained that the flaws that marked the 2010 elections were severe to the point that validating the results is not possible.More importantly, the case filed by Smartmatic Dominion Voting Systems, the technology owner, raises performance issues against Smartmatic’s contractual obligations to the Filipino people and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
The AESwatch is a forum of prominent convenors and 40 plus civic organizations focussed on the implementation of the automated election system. Tan Dem is a coalition of 13 local and international organizations and leaders aimed at protecting the electoral process. GFN is a coalition of international and local global Filipino leaders in 30 countries committed to building the promoting the global Filipino Nation for good governance.
The united groups yesterday claimed that there were three major violations of the law in 2010 that affected the authenticity of the outcome of the 2010 elections for which violators should be held accountable.The first major violation, which the core of the issue of electoral validity, is the deliberate dismantling of digital signatures by the Melo Comelec. The civil society groups stated that the alleged use of “digital machine signatures” has no basis in law and in practice. The Electronic Commerce Act recognizes an electronic signature as the signature of a person, not a machine. A “machine signature” has no person in it.
The third major legal violation was the failure to provide a mechanism in the PCOS that would allow the voter to rectify and validate whom they had voted for. All the PCOS machines gave the voter was a congratulatory remark, which says nothing. Even bank ATM withdrawals give out receipts.
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes, however, said some weeks back that he does not want any paper receipts, since to him, this would open the gates for vote selling.
The PCOS machines used in 2010 will again be in use in 2013, and it is likely that the machines won’t be giving out any paper reciepts either, for validation of people’s votes purposes, apart from the rejection of Brillantes of the vote paper receipts.
The civil society group cited major data inaccuracies that discredited the Smartmatic system, saying that the transmission of returns for 257 million of voters vs. 54 plus million official numbers; the major inaccuracy of the random manual audit; and the preloading and hacking of returns as evidenced in the Biliran congressional contest.
The suit filed by Smartmatic in Delaware, USA vs. Dominion has reinforced the discrediting of the Smartmatic system in various ways.Contrary to what Smartmatic had claimed in the past, it now admits that it has no access to the real source code which guides the operation of the system.
Since Smartmatic does not own the technology, it was asked why the Comelec say it had the source code, coming the middleman (Smartmatic under Cesar Flores).Since Dominion Voting Systems says that Smartmatic cannot license the technology after the 2010 elections is the Comelec buying “contraband” technology?
Why did the Comelec recently buy the technology from Smartmatic when there still serious “bugs” in the system? Was the Smartmatic sale to Comelec of the defecrtive technology an act of deception? The same group asked. Civil society groups stated that they support Smartmatic’s system as long as it conforms to the Constitution and laws and very importantly if the machines are clearly “fully operational.