PCOS exposed: What about elections in 2010?

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Philippine Star

Last Monday’s editorial in the Philippine STAR was quite telling when it pointed out correctly and we quote, “The glitches involved thousands of PCOS machines, and the number is not something to sneeze at. Before Election Day, Comelec officials said they had factored in potential glitches and had put thousands of PCOS machines on standby for deployment to areas where glitches would be reported.” The editorial did not mention, nor chastise the Comelec Chairman for saying that there were only less than 300 machines that malfunctioned. But in truth, there were thousands that broke down. 

Thank God for the broken PCOS… it could no longer participate in that strange phenomenon that social networking sites like Philippine Online Chronicles (POC) exposed and went viral all over the social networking websites. This piece was entitled “Was the elections won with a 60-30-10 formula?” written last Monday as the STAR also came up with its editorial. Allow me to reprint parts of that article, as it is quite long.

“It appears to be a simple formula to ensure a dominant hold on political power in the Philippines. Perhaps too simple that it was only a matter of time until it was discovered. On the eve of May 18, watchful netizens discovered they weren’t alone in finding an uncomfortably unnatural “60%-30%-10%” spread of votes respectively among Team PNoy, UNA and the independent candidates consistent in all vote canvassing updates by the Commission on Elections through their “Transparency” server.”

In short, those votes came in exactly this order 60% for Team PNoy, 30% for UNA and 10% for the independent candidates in all the regions of this country. If you looked at the graph that POC showed in that article, you’d truly be surprised or amazed how uniform were those votes from the first count on May 13 all the way to May 18… and indeed, Team PNoy garnered 60%, UNA at 30% and the independents at 10%. In my book this is a clear pattern of cheating and the Comelec better have a logical answer before we rush into the streets in righteous indignation!

Reading this piece instantly reminded me that when the critics of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes pounced on him for proclaiming the first top six Senators when he only had 70 out of 304 Certificates of Canvass (CoC) counted, the Comelec Chairman retorted, “Prove to me that any of the first six will be removed from the 12, I guarantee (it won’t happen). I will resign if any of them gets dropped from the 12.” Was this a “Slip of the tongue” by the Comelec Chairman or was he “Forced” to make this guarantee when no Comelec chairman in the past could make such guarantees?

In my book Comelec Chairman Brillantes made a huge faux pas when he made that guarantee when only 70 of the 304 CoCs have been canvassed. But wait! If you read between the lines, the Comelec Chairman could only make those guarantees if he had prior knowledge of this 60-30-10 formula. So now we ask, can this computer illiterate Comelec Chairman explain why this strange phenomenon is happening all over the country?

I would like to believe that this strange digital phenomenon that social netizens discovered would not have happened if only the Comelec Chairman followed the Comelec laws and revealed the source code much earlier in order for political parties and election watchdogs to have the time to scrutinize the programs for the PCOS machines. But now that the cat is out of the bag, perhaps our IT experts should start looking at the 2010 elections records whether it had the same pattern for votes in all regions or not.

After all the warnings that we have issued in so many columns, finally the PCOS machines gave credence to that old saying, “Haste makes waste.” But the PCOS was only fast in the first two days because more than a week after the elections, millions of votes are still missing, according to NAMFREL.

These confounded machines cost the taxpayers billions of pesos in rentals when we first used it in the May 2010 elections. But instead of coming up with a thorough investigation on whether these machines were reliable or worse… could be hacked or digitally manipulated… the Comelec stored it in an expensive warehouse. But since there are a few IT people in the Comelec, there was no program to fix those darn machines.

In short, Smartmatic has a lot of explaining to do… especially when we learned that the technology behind the PCOS machines belonged to Dominion Voting Systems. In short, Smartmatic executives are mere carpet baggers… they made their cut and to hell with Philippine democracy if their machines could be “manipulated” by shadowy operators. To clear this issue, the Comelec must now order a parallel manual count to find out whether the PCOS machines would tally with the ballots inside the box or we go to court.

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