Comelec in crisis

12

I HAD not planned on voting. But in the wee hours of May 10, listening to dzMM “Teleradyo,” I decided to check the Comelec website’s precinct finder to see if my name was there. It labeled my status as “active.” I checked the voters’ list for my precinct, and there I was as part of the official list of voters for May 9, 2016.

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This was strange for two reasons. One, I deliberately did not do biometrics because I did not want to vote in this election. Comelec went all out claiming “No Bio No Boto!” and I took it to mean that since I had no biometrics—not even partial or incomplete data—this would remove my name completely from the voters’ list.

But, apparently, if you voted in the 2010 and/or the 2013 elections, you would remain on the voters’ list. Which brings me to the next strange thing: my parents, who both voted in 2010, had been removed from the list.

I called the Comelec hotline, which only confirmed what was already online. I went to my precinct at 3:30 p.m., and was out of there in 10 minutes max: it was quick and painless.

But also it was absurd. On the voters’ list with the BEI, right beside my name and where I’m supposed to sign, there was nothing: no photo, no fingerprints, no signature. No indication that I am who I say I am. Anyone could’ve come in with my ID and voted in my place.

Loopholes and misinformation
One also wonders how many people decided not to vote, believing that “No Bio No Boto” campaign. One wonders how Comelec decided to “cleanse” its list: some people who had voted the past two elections were delisted, others who did biometrics were not on the list. And then there was just the more visible disenfranchisement: senior citizens and PWDs being forced to go up two, three, four floors; machine breakdowns forcing people to go home after waiting for hours. TV and social media, including election watchdogs, could but capture a fraction of these problems.

The Comelec has fallen back on the fact that foreign observers had said this was “a generally orderly and peaceful election” (GMANetwork.com, 12 May). But that is not equal to “secure, or honest, or clean elections,” yes?

Because even before May 9 so many irregularities were already being reported and Comelec either didn’t answer questions, or merely brushed these off.

Three days before the elections, lawyers of the Poe-Chiz camp asked about the unexplained dismissal of hundreds of VCM technicians who had already undergone training for the May 9 elections (Interaksyon.com, 6 May). Comelec replied that these technicians were not “fired,” they just did not pass the tests (Rappler.com, 7 May). On the fact that they were removed so close to the elections, the tangential response was that the machines “will be operated not by technicians, but only by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) and election officers” (Rappler.com, 7 May). In Lanao del Norte, teachers backed out as BEIs; 200 policemen replaced them (Daily Tribune, 7 May). On radio, reports were aplenty about vote-buying and -selling in the provinces.

Comelec itself has since admitted that 2,363 VCMs throughout the country malfunctioned on May 9, with at least 150 units replaced (KontraDaya.org, 11 May). It has scheduled special elections for 17,600 disenfranchised voters (Rappler.com, 11 May) in 52 polling precincts.

These admissions of failures and problems on election day are spun by Comelec with assertions as to whether or not these “materially affect results.” Spokesperson James Jimenez has said of the disenfranchised voters: “Again, this only affects 17,000 voters. So while the vote means the world to everyone, you have to look at it in the context of the bigger picture” (Rappler.com, 11 May).

Bigger picture
But the bigger picture is just as grim.

Comelec took pride in the 90 percent transmission rate it reported by May 9. But an undisclosed number of VCMs “could not transmit from precincts as promised by Smartmatic <and> many election returns were brought to the canvassing centers where the SD cards were manually uploaded. These would appear in the Comelec transparency servers as “transmitted results” (KontraDaya.org, 11 May) even when these weren’t in fact transmitted.

Leni Robredo said in her May 10 news conference: “Ngayon po kasi automated na ang ating eleksyon. Napakahirap naman mandaya na wala nang human intervention ang eleksyon” (CNN Philippines, 10 May).

But human intervention is actually allowed by Comelec via Resolution 10083, which “directs all SD cards ‘imported’ from the 92,509 precinct VCMs to the city/municipality board of canvassers (C/MBOCs). This means, precinct-transmitted ERs will no longer be the basis for proclamation but SD cards manually delivered to the C/MBOCs” (CenPeg.org, 5 May).

Center for People’s Empowerment in Governance (CenPeg) director Prof. Bobby M. Tuazon asserts that Resolution 10083 “virtually subjects the election to manipulation, switching, and snatching—reminiscent of ballot box thefts under the manual system.” (5 May)

Robredo’s camp has said: “Let us respect the process. The people have spoken. It is clear that Congresswoman Leni Robredo has retained her lead. Let us respect the democratic exercise, and unite so we can move on and serve the nation” (Philippine Star, 12 May).

But there is nothing democratic about an exercise that is not transparent and not secure, and which in the end just puts into questions ALL election results, beyond the VP race.

Successful = clean and credible
“Comelec’s claim of ‘success’ for the May 10 automated election was based principally on the speedy results with a high percentage of election returns already canvassed and winners known in a few hours up to a couple of days, as both the poll body and Smartmatic claimed. The quick results also seemed to match pre-election surveys particularly on the presidential race. Speed thus became the yardstick of ‘success’ to the extent that may people overlooked what really happened on the ground. A full grasp of ground realities would have provided a more objective perspective on how to appraise the conduct of the automated election.”

That’s from the CenPeg Report on the May 2010 automated elections (page 23).

We could say the same of the 2016 Elections.

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12 Comments

  1. CRISTY David on

    Basically the PPCRV did their job. What the wrter is trying to say is the whole Electoral system is flawed from every facet she mentioned
    It remains under control of a syndicate from the time Defensor was CHEATEd as the winner against Ramos. Nothing changed. Problem is, Filipinos are So Partisan. They only look at it as LENY vs MARCOS. Not Filipino Voters against the COMELEC violators of Rights to suffrage

    • Wow what job was that exactly … PPCRV has been an agent of distrust corruption, electoral crimes … when one acts non-chalant of of the true realities try to persuade and hide the truth and tell the populaton that its okey despite grave violation of the election code … your advocacy of clean honest election becomes a trash… here you can stop using your church affiliatiom as the base of your battle cry… this does not make you holier than thou but makes a liar out of you and yourc onstituents …!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. It’s either BBM or Cayetano for a pro Duterte, which is known to everyone. From the very first start, I know Pnoy will do everything to bring BMM down. It was confirmed when Leni leads the VP quick counting. I don’t know if this post would make a difference but I sent this site to BBM emai address. Yeah, without your permission. Sorry, about that…

    • You said that it was confirmed that if Leni wins,,,,,,, who confirmed this gossip ? Tell us so we can pursue your allegation. To tell you the truth a VP position is nothing. He or she is not a law maker, cannot veto any item, unless given a cabinet position, this position is nothing. There is nothing to argue unless you are BBM that is gunning for a president position in 2022. So stop this argument, nothing to argue. To tell you the truth VP position must be remove because it has no purpose. If the president is gone, the senate president takes the position if there is no VP. So why do we need a VP ?

  3. tagaDumantay on

    Bitz, you are uncooperative of the Comelec rules and now have the gal to complain about it and earning money from it. Managing 100 million voters is not easy task and hard to perfect. Shut up!

  4. jose b. taganahan on

    It is a shame and unfortunate that the writer is just ignorant of a Supreme Court Decision directing the Comelec to allow registered voters who were able to vote in 2010 or 2013 to vote in the May 9, 2016 election.

  5. I registered for biometrics here in Baguio and asked if there is existing data on my dad who passed away June 2013.there was and I asked the comelec personnel to remove it.it was still in the voters list when I voted though.

  6. Danny Cascolan on

    XIf Noynoy Aquino demonstrated that he can cheat the pcos vcm to make his candidates win, don’t be some dimwit not to realize that duterte is noynoy’s man too.

    Puro Dilaw na talaga ang uupo resulta kahit sa senador.
    Moro-moro na hocus-pocus pa.
    Ang resulta kontrolado pa rin ng Dilaw ang direksyun ng Pilipinas para mabenta.

    Ang sistema dinamihan ang raffle na kandidato, pinaigitng ang deceptive media hype, makinarya suhulan at pekeng survey, kahit sino manalo kila roxas, poe at duterte, pareho lang maisusulong ang programa tuwad na daan. At malayo na manalo ang kalaban ng Dilaw kasi naging buffer for manipulation ang tatlong yellow candidates kung sakali. Tatlong kanto pa dadaanan ng mga tunay na oposisyon sa bilangan na di naman nakikita talaga. Well walang magagawa ang taong Bansa kundi tanggapin ang manipulasyun dahil marami din naman ang may gusto nang gayun dahil sa kakapusan ng karagdagan impormasyun at lohiko.

    Remains to be seen ang future ng Pilipino at ating Bansa.
    – –
    Flashback repost,

    excerpt commentary,

    In fact, the yellow syndicate was not sure kung mapapalusot nila si poe sa sc kaya pinapasok si duterte, noynoy wanted to fulfil his promise to roxas, pero failing si roxas, then theres the pcos, hindi totally plantsado un plans kaya nagkarun ng options.

    I think nervous si noynoy and syndicate, so they made alternatives, the problem each of his hidden candidate has the strong urge to win and each has compelling attributes and support.

    Poe has very strong backing foreign and local, duterte is boasting he can make the shortcut to yellow schemes which the people would even be willing to embrace like idiots will do, roxas maintains the yellow name but really losing, and they all have the money to support the venture.

    those are povs, intelligent opinions are naturally neccessary to make sense out of the facts.

    Now it is our problem how to foil the pcos fraud by comelec and yellow candidates );

    • Imagine kung ang mga tumakbong kandidato ay tauhan ni noynoy, kaninong tao si noynoy noon, kung ganun ang systema, ibig mo bang sabihin controlado ni noynoy si gloria noon? Ang pangit naman nang analysis mo, sa tingin mo tanga lahat ng tumakbo?

  7. These are isolated cases. We have 54+ million voters and we have to put it in the proper perspective. . If 0.1% had problems (99.9% without), it means that there are 54,000 case like yours. The election can not be perfect, as none of the previous elections have been. But you gained writing a column and hopefully getting paid for it.

    Inspite of these glitches, which does not change the results of the election, the May 9 election is successful. We need to commend the COMELEC, PPRCV and the poll watchers who did a fantastic job in conducting the election and giving us a speedy transmission of the results.

    • another one who, despite the numerous significant anomalies, knows that it does not change the results of the election.

      actually it”s true. it doesn’t change the election results, it determines the results.