Comelec must explain server discrepancies or junk Smartmatic system


The 2016 national elections may be over but the controversies surrounding the recent automated polls are not. If these are not resolved and explained by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) headed by Chairman Andres Bautista before the 2019 mid-term elections, then the Smartmatic election system should be permanently junked and replaced with a fool-proof, transparent and easily verifiable technology from other automated election system providers. That or go back to manual elections.

Comelec cannot sweep these controversies under the rug hoping that it will somehow die down or go away. The many server and canvassing issues during the last elections should not become a mere footnote during the Duterte presidency because the integrity of the country’s voting process is at stake.

Comelec certainly has a lot of explaining to do.

Months before the May 2016 elections, Comelec boasted that the then upcoming polls would be one of the quickest and most accurate ever. Comelec Steering Committee chairman Christian Lim even assured the public that the vote-counting machines (VCMs) would give precise voting results. And to quickly disseminate the poll results, Comelec set up a mirror server – the so-called “transparency server” – at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Ermita, Manila.

The way Smartmatic’s automated election system was supposed to work is that results from 92,509 vote-counting machines (VCMs) in 369,138 precincts nationwide were to be electronically transmitted to the board of canvassers, the Comelec central server and the transparency server at Pope Pius XII.

It is this same election results that were supposed to be received by four parties directly from the transparency server – the Liberal Party, the United Nationalist Alliance, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the citizen’s arm authorized by the Comelec to conduct the unofficial count.

As Comelec made it appear, the counting and canvassing of the election results would basically be an automated process, free from human intervention, and impliedly, safe from manipulation.

The election protests and server discrepancies during the May 2016 polls clearly prove that this was not the case. Contrary to the poll body’s representations, Smartmatic’s automated election system was riddled with serious vulnerabilities, exposing the entire system to shenanigans.

Case in point is the poll mess involving the Confederation of Non-Stock Savings and Loan Associations (CONSLA) party list.

Based on PPCRV’s Quick Count, CONSLA garnered some 342,513 votes results as early as 11:00 p.m. on election day. The next day, May 10, the PPCRV’s tally showed the party-list group receiving some 555,896 votes, ranking 14th out of 115 party-list groups running in the elections. In fact, Comelec even handed out access cards to CONSLA as a “Party-List Elect.”

Curiously, after the Comelec finished the official canvass, CONSLA ended up in 54th place with only 213,814 votes, around 3 notches below the cut-off for winning party-list groups.

Although PPCRV admitted there were errors in the quick count results, its Communications and Media Director Ana de Villa Singson blamed these on “network connectivity issues.” But even with this networking issue – which is really just a transmission problem – shouldn’t Comelec and PPCRV end up with the same result at the end of the day?

Moreover, how can the poll watchdog come up with a different result from Comelec when PPCRV’s quick count results are supposed to be “automatically” uploaded from the poll body’s transparency server?

The explanation of PPCRV’s legal counsel, Howard Calleja, raised even more questions when he allegedly admitted that the numbers documented by CONSLA were not sourced from Comelec’s transparency server.

So where did PPCRV get their data in the first place? What was PPCRV’s source for the results they were showing the public? Isn’t this tantamount to a confession that they can manipulate the release of poll data? And is this not a serious violation of PPCRV’s obligation to faithfully publicize the results coming directly from Comelec’s transparency server?

But that isn’t the only discrepancy relating to the Comelec’s transparency server.

A week after the polls, some media folks also noticed that the number of votes for some candidates posted on the Comelec-GMA mirror server started going down. For instance, the votes for vice-presidential candidates Leni Robredo and Bongbong Marcos decreased by a few hundred in a span of two hours or so.

Comelec’s Bautista explained that the Board of Canvassers “inadvertently” transmitted both the test votes and the actual votes to the server. He says the test vote refer to the accuracy tests conducted on the VCMs before the election using the actual names of the candidates. Bautista said Comelec was then in the process of removing the test votes when the incident happened. “Nililinis na,” the Comelec chairman said.

Bautista’s pronouncements are alarming, to say the least. Contrary to Comelec’s representation that the vote canvassing system was “automated,” it turns out Comelec can easily enter the system and alter the results, just as they had done with the removal of the test votes. What is more worrisome is that if Comelec can go in and “clean” the results in the election system, what can stop them from accessing or altering the votes for particular candidates?

Perhaps this is why there was a big uproar when a Smartmatic technician inserted the “enye” in the transparency server, ominously coinciding with the downward slide of Bongbong Marcos’ votes.

Since Comelec is solely responsible for the conduct of the elections, Bautista is duty-bound to satisfactorily explain to the public why and how these discrepancies happened. More so now, after being accused of secretly meeting with Vice-President Leni Robredo.


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  1. Bautista rest and perist after having lugaw and Leni’s Special Bebengka,when he come out at midnight,a magic come out,millions, millions votes goes in her favor that slowly overcome BBM advances..the magic lugaw made it happen..This is to refresh the incidents……

  2. It is well known that Vice Presidential race was rigged in favor of the administration candidate. i hope the govt of Duterte will enforce the the full penalty of the law for those who corrupted the integrity of the electoral system.

    • My friend, you are ignorant who has no idea how the election works… Stay quiet unless you have an informed view

  3. The SC ordered Leni Robredo to answer the lawsuit filed by Marcos , then a week or so after, there was a news report that Andres Bautista , Leni Robredo , Conchita Carpio-Morales and US ambassador Goldberg were all present in a party host by Bautista’s in-laws . Was that meeting a coincidence or there was a purpose for that party to take place? Anyone would question those kind of private meetings.

  4. Comelec Chairman Bautista has failed and therefore he should be relieved otherwise the integrity of the last election remained in question.

  5. WE should be aware that during the last May 2016(Pres Election) there were so many issues that came out just to show to us that the Election was Rigged….I don’t trust Smartmatic…I don’t trust the Comelec and what I really propose is Terminate all these Comelec Commissioners and Sue Smartmatic for Rigging the last May Election…I’am really surprise why the same Names of the Clowns and Goons won the Seat ..It was very Obvious that Majority of the Voting Public Hate or at least Don’t Trust the Candidates of the previous Administration. I am willing to bet with anyone that if we make a Survey and the Topic will be” Are You Satisfied with the Aquino Administration Performance? The outcome or Result will be as in % will be all Negative…

    • Your problem is that people are moving forward and your poor little pathetic life is going backwards.

  6. Its really surprising in this previous election. Except Leni Robredo, another surprise candidates are Drilon and De Lima. How come Drilon become the top Senator and how come De Lima got more than million difference on the 13th senator. For Sure, DU30 got more than 17 million votes (maybe 18 or 19 million votes) but it suffice he won.

  7. I remember the dry run before the elections when the PCOS machines failed to register because as they claimed there were a few misprints in the ballot sheets. Well they used that as an excuse to reprint millions of extra ballot sheets, which they obviously kept in waiting.

  8. Why let COMELEC investigate and judge itself?

    It is the main culprit here.

    It (COMELEC) should be the one that must be investigated, imprisoned/hang for wasting billions and cheating the Pilipino people majority, mocking an important process in our system of governance. At dapat sa pinakamabilis na paraan. Pwede i-salvage na lang iyan lahat, at bawain ang mga nabayad at na-“komisyon” nilang pera.

    Kung hindi o ayaw gawin ng nasa law enforcement at judiciary na ahensya ng gobyerno ito, di palitan na natin ang gobyerno, at dapat ngayon na, habang nililinis ang dapat linisin, at tinuturuan ng disiplina at tamang gawain tayong lahat. Pauwiin lahat ng “mambabatas kuno”, nasa totoo ay kasabwat sa masasamang gawaing ito.

    Sampung utos lang naman siguro, tama na, basta medyo isapuso lang ang ating pagsunod, pag sumikap na makasunod. Ang resources ng gobyerno baka magamit sa totong nation-building, pag nagkataon.

  9. The whole idea is to prevent Duterte and Marcos from winning. It’s just so happen that a landslide is just too hard to manipulate. So they opted to do something against what is totally abhorable to Noynoy, Marcos winning. So yun na lang tinira. Pero along the way, they manipulated Roxas votes. Itinaas para di mukhang tanga’t kawawa. 9 million votes? Saan galing yun. I don’t think may 9 milyong tangang Filipinong boboto kay Roxas. Anak ng Pusa.

  10. Yolanda Junto Reyes on

    Thank you Manila Times and Atty. Dodo Dulay for tackling this issue. I’m one of those concerned citizens that expects explanation from COMELEC body especially from Bautista. As a computer programmner, i can attest the discrepancies happened in the AES. Of course it is not true that VCMs are 100% reliable and free from manipulation, in fact, using the machines anything can happen perfectly, even cheating, without any trace of evidence, except when you scrutinize the program installed or the system itself. Because, the IT experts, system designers and computer programmer themselves have all the power and knowledge to manipulate the program and the result.

    Furthermore, i’d like to appeal before the office of the President to please pay attention regarding this issue. I believe this is also one negative vital national issue that needs pronto solution. Regardless of the candidate, i am fighting for the truth and integrity of our Election System.

  11. all very interesting i cant make a comment on but were i can is the PRINTING OF THE BALLOTS. i helped desing verify the security and even printed test ballots needless to say for 3 elections now the security was deleted anyone could of and maybe did print there own ballots at home on any HP ink jet. or at a precinkt level just swap the whole package recieved by the voting precinkt with slightly changed ones that would ensure the favourite candites won !!!!. I am not a Filipino but get affected by the system

  12. The recently conducted Election was obviously rigged with BS Aquino III as the Mastermind !!!

    Before the Election, BS Aquino III stated that He would do everything to prevent Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. from winning the Vice Presidency … did he not ?

    I believe that with the so many evidences shown (Videos , statement of witnesses , different numbers presented by the so called “accurate servers” , common sense, et cetera) … Senator BBM jr. Would soon emerge as the truly elected Vice President of the Philippines !!!

  13. Maribel A. Calanda on

    Andres Bautista has no integrity at all. His style is just to ignore every complaint that comes his way. The Comelec really decides who will win in the elections. Several witnesses have surfaced and yet he is just making a cold front and cold shoulders to all the complainants against Comelec particularly BBM. Who does he think he is? I wish President Duterte should address this problem and give justice to those votes Comelec made to disappear and not to be counted at all. Elections are for the people as articulated by the true VP, Bongbong Marcos,

  14. Pag nakalusot pa ang Comelec at Smartmatic sa pandaraya sa 2016 election, wala nang pag-asa ang bansa.

  15. Indeed, the issue will not die down until justice is served. BBM won the election via landslide win but the Liberal Party through Bautista of Comelec manipulated the election so that Leni Robredo wins including some Senatorial candidates, etc.