AES Watch is an NGO made up of persons of integrity with high qualifications and extensive experience in monitoring our electoral system and processes. They represent many other NGOs and civil society organizations known for their members’ expertise and integrity. As such, AES Watch is a broad coalition made up of different election monitoring, non-government, civil society, and professional organizations. Many members are from academe and church-based groups. Their objective is to make our elections transparent, credible, safe from fraud and manipulation, and yield accurate results.
It has led the citizenry in monitoring, studying in depth, and watching with eagle eyes the Commission on Elections in making its moves and decisions about the adoption of technologies for our electoral system, methods and processes.
AES Watch, however, instead of being embraced and appreciated by the Commission on Elections has been attacked by former Chairman Sixto Brillantes. Brillantes has always referred to AES Watch and people and groups who have seen the correctness of its findings and recommendations as “troublemakers.” Brillantes and his friends have even made ugly accusations against these patriotic and pro-democracy Filipinos trying their best to guard the sanctity of the citizen voter’s ballot.
The latest move of Brillantes against AES Watch is to harass AES Watch and its leaders. He now accuses them of having worked with former governor Tingting Cojuangco to do criminal acts—including ballot thefts— to make the 2013 elections appear questionable.
Brillantes and his confederate, a certain Worthy Acosta, who used to be former governor Cojuangco’s employee, have prepared, signed and submitted separate affidavits to the Comelec law department. The purpose is to make the Comelec decide that AES Watch and its active election-guardians are blacklisted. The unjust and truthful insinuations and accusations besmirch AES Watch’s good reputation as an expert and neutral body.
This evil moves of Brillantes et al. come at a time when the patriotic, tedious and sacrificial efforts to convince the powers-that-be that the Smartmatic-PCOS machines that Brillantes favors so much are destructive of Philippine electoral democracy.
The Senate hearing on March 19 (feast of St. Joseph whom many Filipinos have implored for intercession in stopping the destruction of the Philippines) was the first time a major power holder concerned with the issue declared that the Smartmatic-PCOS machines system lacked transparency. Senator Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, co-chair of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System or the JCOC-AES, by making that conclusion at the hearing therefore agreed with the AES Watch’s main complaint against the Smartmatic automated election system employed in 2010, 2013 and will again be employed (unless thwarted) in 2016.
By not being transparent the Smartmatic-PCOS machine system is therefore illegal—contravening one of the requirements stated by the laws on automated election systems.
Senator Pimentel has also raised the matter of subjecting Smartmatic-TIM (TIM is the Philippine partner of the Venezuelans) for the PCOS machines’ writing of digital lines on the electronic images of ballots inserted into the PCOS machines in the 2013 elections. The lines were read by the PCOS machines, changing the intention of the voter.
Pimentel was himself a victim of the PCOS machines’ digital lines. He should have been 5th place instead of only the 8th placer among the 2013 winners of a Senate seat. The digital lines reduced his votes.