There is no question that the use of Smartmatic’s PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) and Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS) in the 2016 elections will again cast doubts on the integrity of the results. Consider the following:
1. In the 2010 and 2013 elections, the Election Returns data (ERs show the results of precinct-counting) were not shown in the Comelec public website. The Statements of Votes (SOVs show the votes garnered by each candidate on a precinct-by-precinct basis), generated at the Municipal Boards of Canvassers (MBOCs), were not made public either. This means that there was no way the candidates’ watchers could have verified the accuracy of the transmissions. Had they been made available, then watchers would have been able to compare the data received at the MBOCs with the data in their copies of the ERs.
2. This unavailability of data was also true at the Provincial Boards of Canvassers (PBOC) level.
3. Worse, even the Certificates of Canvass (COCs show the total votes garnered by each candidate per municipality, or in the next level, per province), generated at the MBOCs and PBOCs, were incomplete, which led to the speculation that Comelec was, in fact, not able to complete the canvassing at all. What data then did they use to proclaim the winners of the senatorial contest?
4. This lack of data and control figures is totally unacceptable even in a half-decent automated system. Banks, for instance, will never use this kind of half-baked system! Experienced Filipino IT practitioners will never design systems without proper controls.
5. In light of the above, the 60:30:10 phenomenon becomes very believable, because in a system which is non-transparent and lacking controls, it would be easy to hide programmed results.
6. Could this be the reason why Comelec did not want to use the CCS that was developed by its own staff at almost 1/100th of the cost of Smartmatic’s CCS?
7. In 2013, 23 percent of the PCOS units failed to electronically transmit the results to the MBOCs, which means the PCOS units and/or their corresponding CF cards had to be transported physically for canvassing. Those small CF cards could easily have been substituted with pre-loaded cards. (The CF cards are the equivalent of the ballot boxes.)
8. Smartmatic, Comelec, and some Congressmen say that in all the protest cases, the PCOS counts and the manual counts always matched, thus proving that PCOS counted accurately. This is not true.
9. In Nueva Ecija, the protestants proved that the difference between the two counts were significant. This revelation led former Comelec Chairman Brillantes to accuse the protestants from Nueva Ecija that they must have tampered with the contents of the ballot boxes. Brillantes therefore unwittingly admitted that tampering with the contents of the boxes can be done. It is therefore possible that the reason the counts matched in the other protest cases, is that the contents of the ballot boxes were replaced with matching ballots. The boxes were opened more than one year after the elections! Enough time to execute this dirty operation.
10. There are photographs of a roomful of ballots that were presumably printed AFTER the 2013 elections. Two reporters of tabloid newspapers wrote about it. Unfortunately, they were both shot to death soon after, while they were drinking beer in a small sari-sari store. Could those be the matching ballots for the other protest cases?
11. Sure wins were being peddled as early as Jan 2013, by election operators presumably with the assistance of former Smartmatic technicians.
With all of these serious system infirmities, it follows that we should never use Smartmatic’s PCOS and CCS ever again. And before somebody says that there are no other alternatives, let me say right away that that definitely is a big lie! We have recommended a more appropriate and more transparent system, which we are passing on to the Comelec free of charge, but which system, unfortunately, has been demonized by Smartmatic, Comelec, and some Congressmen, perhaps because it is a real threat to the PCOS system that they so love.
But there’s a little problem. The Brillantes Commission decided to use the Smartmatic PCOS and CCS in the 2016 elections again. Only the next Comelec Chairman, with the concurrence of majority of the other Commissioners, can undo that.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the key issue today: if the President wants a non-transparent system like Smartmatic’s PCOS and CCS in order that the ruling party can control the results of elections, then it is likely that he will appoint a Comelec Chairman who will espouse that system. If that’s what will happen, then goodbye, 2016 elections.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have committees on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms. All their efforts will be for naught if they don’t concern themselves now with scrutinizing the appointment of the new Chairman and two Comelec Commissioners. We need an independent Commission which will not just follow the bidding of Malacañang or any other political pressure group.