Damning evidence against Smartmatic PCOS

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa - The Philippine Star

It is not easy for voters to understand computer gobbledygook. They are easy prey to those pushing for fraudulent machine elections. In all my articles on Smartmatic PCOS I have tried to translate the technical problems in simple terms: For a vote to be completed, whether manual or automated, there are two acts, one is the vote itself and the second is how it is counted. If the vote was separated from the counting process, we did not vote.

That is what happened in May 2010. Worse, all the ways through which we could prove this separation took place was closed to us. We don’t really know how the machines counted the votes.      

Automatic Elections Watch (AES) has put together computer experts who have pointed out the errors by the machines. All the answer the group got from Comelec is that these have been corrected. This is a lie. We now know this because of the Smartmatic case against Dominion. Therefore Smartmatic cannot correct the errors. It can only do so if Dominion, the supplier of the technology, cooperates with them. All the facts on just how the May 2010 were conducted is coming out now. It does not come from local computer experts or aggrieved losing candidates. It comes from the ongoing suit between Smartmatic and Dominion. AES Watch has a copy of the legal suit.

AES has issued the following statement:

“It appears that the US-based Dominion Voting Systems, which supplied the election technology to Smartmatic for the Philippine elections, terminated its 2009 license agreement with the latter on May 23, 2012.

As a result, the termination denies Smartmatic access to technical support and assistance as well as Dominion’s proprietary source code and other “escrowed materials” which are vital to correcting and “enhancing” the PCOS system upon request of Comelec in March this year, AES’ Professor Bobby Tuazon said in a statement.”

With the information coming from the suit, the group urged the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) for a formal investigation. This can only be done if Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago takes up the cause to show why “Smartmatic company will not be able to correct its voting system’s deficiencies” and therefore should not be used again in the coming elections.

“Failure to correct the PCOS system’s program errors and bugs may doom the scheduled 2013 mid-term elections,” Tuazon said.

Dominion is the real owner of the election technology — a fact Smartmatic hid during the 2010 elections.

With the contract terminated all claims of Smartmatic that they corrected the errors is untrue. It cannot correct the PCOS errors and defects that are causing erratic counting, among other problems.

It took a legal fight between Dominion and Smartmatic to get at the facts of just what happened in 2010.

Smartmatic has had to admit system errors of its technology in the compact flash card (CFC) fiasco during the May 3, 2010 final testing and sealing (FTS) or a week before the May 2010 elections in the Philippines. It blamed Dominion’s software for failing to correctly read and record the paper ballots. 

The Venezuelan company accused Dominion of breaking the 2009 license agreement by failing to deliver “fully functional technology” for the 2010 Philippine elections, and failing to place in escrow the required source code, hardware design, and manufacturing data.

This is an explicit admission by Smartmatic of the “failure of its system to function fully, resulting in glaring errors, most of which were documented” by CenPEG and AES Watch in 2010, Dr. Pablo Manalastas, AES Watch co-convener and CenPEG Fellow for IT said.

“Does Dominion’s failure automatically imply Smartmatic’s failure to do the escrow required by the election law (RA 9369)?” Manalastas added. “Do these actions by Smartmatic constitute a criminal intent to cheat, a criminal intent to avoid its contractual obligations with Comelec and with the Filipino people?” he asked.

A congressional committee should probe why Smartmatic has been saying its system was 100 percent perfect contrary to the scientific studies of Filipino IT experts and scholars. 

Through the suit we now know that the election technology used in the 2010 national elections was fraught with program errors and deficiencies — which CenPEG, along with the broad citizens election watchdog AES Watch have raised since 2009.

“In the absence of a serious concern from Comelec — which has actually been promoting Smartmatic in a show of partisanship — as well as Congress, this issue and other concerns have prompted CenPEG and AES Watch to sue both Smartmatic and the poll body before the Supreme Court twice. The second lawsuit ‑ filed summer this year — is over Comelec’s decision to purchase Smartmatic’s voting machines against the strong advice of the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC).

The Delaware lawsuit was the opening needed by concerned citizens. Moreover, the original licensing agreement between the two companies only allows Smartmatic the use of the technology in the Philippines in 2010. There is no clear explicit provision whether its use is allowed in the 2013 elections.”

And finally, why should we allow foreign companies to manage our own election — a sovereignty issue?

*      *      *

So Chairman Sixto Brillantes should not be so quick to say that Filipinos should emulate the Americans and be mature by conceding to winners quickly after elections. What!?

All things being equal that may not be too much to ask. In 2010 it was more unequal than it has ever been. Brillantes rubs more salt to the wounds of candidates who lost in dubious circumstances of the first automated election in the Philippines.

If there are concerned citizens still fighting for righting the wrongs committed in the botched up automated elections, they are fighting for a worthwhile cause. It is about the sovereignty of our elections. It is not about conceding defeat but whether we should give up our votes to machines manipulated by vested interests. This is unconscionable and will destroy the very foundation of our republican democracy.

Moreover, the Comelec has not only stonewalled questions from computer experts both local and foreign about the Smartmatic-PCOs it is pushing that the same crooked automatic electoral system be used again in 2013 and in all future elections. That would be catastrophic. It will be the end of the enfranchisement of Filipino citizens. Their votes will be at the mercy of those who have set up the system for their own agenda. The Comelec chief presumes we had a normal election last 2010.


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