CFR-Asia Unbound’s assessment disappoints


THE New York-based Council on Foreign Relations is one of the most respected sources of analyses of world events. One of its products is Asia Unbound. Under the Asia Unbound heading, knowledgeable and correct analyses of our part of the world come out. The bylines are usually those of Joshua Kurlantzick and Elizabeth Economy.

Mr. Kurlantzick’s article “The Year in Democracy in Southeast Asia,” posted on Tuesday December 8, is as usual correct—except for its failure to note the very glaring crimes against our electoral democracy being committed by the very body constitutionally tasked with supervising our electoral processes, the Commission on Elections.

Mr. Kurlantzick’s Asia Unbound blog “The Year in Democracy in Southeast Asia” begins with this unassailable paragraph:

“In the weeks since Myanmar’s national elections in November, the country’s potential as a democratic success story seems clearer and clearer. As I have noted, there are many remaining obstacles to Myanmar’s transition, including the continuing influence of the military in politics, the ongoing ethnic insurgencies, and the National League for Democracy’s inexperience in governing. Still, Myanmar’s free and fair elections, and the ruling party’s apparent willingness to step down, mark a major milestone for that country and surely are the high points for democracy in Southeast Asia in 2015.”

The second paragraph is what disappoints us:

“Unfortunately, the report card on democratic progress in the rest of Southeast Asia for this year is decidedly more mixed. The region’s four most democratic states—the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, and Singapore—generally continued to demonstrate their political strengths. Singapore’s September elections delivered a massive win for the ruling party, and experts on Singaporean politics criticized the electoral framework for favoring the People’s Action Party. But during the campaign period there was extremely lively and informed political debate in the city-state—some of the most informed political debate one could see anywhere in the world. The first year of Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s term was rocky, as he went back and forth on economic policy and foreign policy, but Jokowi has begun trying to strengthen Indonesia’s democratic fundamentals, such as by removing some of his ministers linked to the PDI-P machine and bringing on men and women with sterling reputations for fighting graft.”

The rest of the article rightly and correctly discusses problems of democracy in the other countries.

We object to the sentence “The region’s four most democratic states—the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, and Singapore—generally continued to demonstrate their political strengths.” It might well indeed be true of Indonesia, East Timor and Singapore. But it is a blatant lie in the case of the Philippines.

Since the pilot testing of Smartmatic’s Automated Election System (AES) using the PCOS machines, through the 2010 and 2013 elections, and most likely in the national, presidential and local elections in May next year, the Comelec and Smartmatic have virtually thrashed our electoral democracy.

We have amply written about it. Information technology (IT) and AES (automated election system) experts—including a former Comelec Commissioner Mr. Gus Lagman—as well as leading political scientists and technicians who know automated election systems and our country’s election laws in depth, have deplored the lack of credibility, transparency, and the failures of the Smartmatic AES.

These failures include non-transmittal of a results from a large number of precincts, large enough to change the overall count. Smartmatic and Comelec also deliberately disabled the security mechanisms of the AES system and the PCOS machines. Ballots have been found stuffed inside the PCOS machines. Count totals have exceeded the number of voters. There is no expert overview of what Smartmatic, their machines and technicians are doing with the precinct-level counting process. There are so many other infractions making the election process and results doubtful.

It is sad that the perversion of our electoral democracy, despite our reports and complaints, has been kept unspoken by officials. It is more painfully sad that authoritative and pro-democracy bodies like the American CFR are helping to hide the destruction of Philippine democracy by our own Commission on Elections and its mysteriously untouchable and unsupervised technology provider Smartmatic.


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  1. Yes, NYCFR should re-analyze deeply the Philippine Election settings it was fraud in 2010, 2013 and this May 2016 it will be a fraud election again. It was reported in the published commentary of Roberto Tiglao in this newspaper that the former foreign adviser, consultant or an aide of the EVIL DICTATOR CORY was the Chairman of SMART MATIC hence the election of ADOLF HITLER LIKE DICTATOR PNOY was suspect in the first place and it is widely believe a big fraud.

    SMARTMATIC has connections with the VENEZUELAN COMPANY and been operating in Latin America with this connection I find it suspect the OLIGARCHS in the our country has done its part in manipulating our election system. Why? the PCOS or OMR which has a part or a component vital to its designed is the so called MICROCHIP and this MICROCHIP could be found in your gadgets like Smart Phones and etc. Henceforth, it can be manipulated by receiving transmitted numbers everywhere.

    I believe that one of the said OLIGARCHS has the connection and I suspect it has because the MICROCHIP manufacturer is owned by said OLIGARCH, the manufacturer operates a manufacturing plants in Latin America, maybe particularly in Venezuela, in Europe and in the Philippines. The MICROCHIP is being exported around the world.

    The Liberal Party dominated Senate and House of Representatives rushed the enactment of law on the Automated Election which we are now using. Henceforth, only favored candidates would win particulary for President and Senators to make it believable. Don’t you think the OLIGARCHS has nothing to do with our elections, oh my gosh they are, they support their candidates who could help them DOLLAR TRILLIONAIRES.

    EVIL DICTATOR CORY the unelected President given to her in silver platter by ENRILE and RAMBOYS has dismantled the gains of Martial Law from 1972 to 1983 when she assumed Presidency in 1986 in just a short time. She declared REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT and REVOLUTIONARY FREEDOM CONSTITUTION and thats it the OLIGARCHS returned to power and became more richer, and now under PNOY they are now DOLLAR BILLIONAIRES, they are every from electricity, water, PPP, and anything on this planet Philippines, they enjoyed government back guaranteed loans and in case of default by a contracting party as soveriegn guaranteed by the state the people’s taxed money will pay for it.

    Oh voting public, the filipino when will you see the light, when will you be not blinded, by the INEPT, CORRUPT, Aquino’s.

  2. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    11 December 2015

    With all due respect, the New York Council on Foreign Relations may enjoy its worldwide reputation for sobriety, correctness and reliability, but it makes a bad mistake when it calls the Philippines a “democracy.”

    The naked, the unvarnished and the unadulterated TRUTH is that the Philippines has long been caught in the vise-like grip of a Plutocratic-Politico-Clerico Conspiracy whose overarching Agenda is to perpetuate itself in power and wealth the better to manipulate and exploit the people.

    To call it a “democracy” is a big joke–if not actually a bad insult!